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U.S. car sales revving up

As the 2013 Iowa-Illinois Regional Auto Show gets underway Friday, across the country, the auto industry is kicking off its fourth straight year of recovery.

“New car sales are just crazy. They’re just wild. General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai all had huge increases,” said Jill Green, owner of Green Buick GMC, Green Chevrolet-Chrysler, and Green Hyundai.

As the dealers shift into gear for the 2013 season, predictions of a 15 percent increase over last year are keeping spirits high.

“There’s just constant competition because everybody keeps doing a little better, a little better, a little better. Sales are good, everybody’s really making money, and everybody’s happy,” said Green.

It’s a far cry from 2008, when American automakers were asking for bailouts, and new cars dropped to the bottom of U.S. shopping lists.

“There’s been a lot of pent-up demand, people from the last few years that were holding off, now they’re coming back into the market,” said Tom Pospisil, general manager at Eriksen Chevrolet-Buick.

Five years later, the product has changed quite a bit as well. Dealers say the biggest change is new technology.

“Safety is the first feature, but then everybody wants all the things that they have at home in their car,” said Zimmerman Honda’s Mark Zimmerman.

And area sellers hope those cars will soon be in your garage.

“We’re slowly climbing back to where we were, those numbers are a lot better than last year, and certainly a lot better than the year before that, so it’s been a slow, steady gain, which is exactly what the industry needs,” said Popisil.

Which could bode well for the rest of the U.S. economy.

“As goes Detroit, so goes the nation,” summed up Green.

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