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Local Car Dealers Seeing Big Boost In Sales As Economy Improves

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Car dealership (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Car dealership (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – We haven’t seen these kinds of numbers since before the recession as auto sales are up, in a big way.

Ford is leading the pack with sales jumping 13 percent in June. Chrysler says sales rose eight percent in its best June in six years and sales at General Motors were up six-and-a-half percent.

CBS 2′s Jim Williams went to one Chicago dealership today to explain the turnaround.

Hanna Lawler and Kyle Petrie are dating and both are buying new cars today as they now have more faith in the economy.

“It’s definitely on an upward trajectory so now getting good interest rates on cars and houses is the smart thing to do,” said Petrie.

Three years ago, Lawler says she would only buy a used car, with cash “that I could just pay for out of pocket so I didn’t have monthly payment, no interest rate or anything.”

Ray Lefevour is seeing the good these days at McCarthy Ford on Chicago’s far Southwest Side, where he’s store manager.

“2013 has been a strong year,” said Lefevour.

How strong? Sales are up 10 percent here so far this year, compared to 2012. Lefevour says his customers, many in blue collar jobs, are doing much better now.

“Tradesmen working full time has pushed a lot people back into the market. Interest rates are very low, credit is opening up,” said Lefevour.

McCarthy Ford has come a long way since the worst of the recession.

“It was a ghost town,” said Lefevour.

Employees hours were cut, some lost their jobs. Service manager Ken Winters has been able to welcome them back.

“When you can see someone with a smile on their face knowing they’re going to be able provide for their family again, it’s an excellent position to be in,” said Winters.

Here’s an example of how the economy is interconnected. Pickup trucks are selling better, according to experts, because the housing market is improving because home-builders need pickup trucks.

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