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Cox Survey: Dealers are Upbeat on Spring Sales

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Automotive News, March 9, 2020 – As they reached mid-winter, U.S. dealers answering a quarterly Cox Automotive survey looked forward to a robust spring selling season and were taking on additional employees and investing in technology to further drive sales.

But if the survey had been administered just weeks later, as coronavirus concerns spooked Wall Street and threatened consumer confidence, overall scores in the latest Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index survey likely would have tumbled, Cox Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said.

The survey measures dealer optimism on a quarterly basis. Franchised dealers participating in the first- quarter 2020 survey, conducted Jan. 27 through Feb. 10, were buoyed by the strong start to the year, making them “the most optimistic we have seen since the beginning of 2018,” Smoke said.Used-vehicle sales remained a bright spot, though economic and political uncertainty weighed on dealers’ minds. The survey overlapped with the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

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