Sales of vehicles to small businesses skyrocketed within the last quarter of 2010, according to General Motors (GM), indicating that the gloom-and-doom attitude of the Great Recession is being replaced by optimism. And Chevrolet is feeling the love.
During the final three months last year, Chevrolet sales to small businesses — those that purchase fewer than five vehicles a year — significantly outpaced the total sales increases the brand nationally. Chevy sales to small businesses increased by 15 percent in October, 39 percent in November and 54 percent in December, more than doubling the overall rate of sales growth.
“Small businesses put off capital expenditures such as vehicle purchases in order to weather the economic storm,” said Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations. “With the continuing improvement in consumer spending, and improving profitability of these businesses, we’re beginning to see a significant influx of small business buyers to Chevrolet showrooms.”
That increase supports the findings in a National Federation of Independent Business survey, which found that small business owners’ optimism reached its highest level in 2010 during the fourth quarter. The study also pointed toward an increasing likelihood that small businesses will begin hiring in the near term.
The increased confidence of small businesses coupled with the increasing age of U.S. vehicles suggests small-business sales will continue to grow, GM said. According to the auto researchers RL Polk and Company, the average vehicle age has increased to 10.2 years through October 2009 — the first time that the collective American vehicle fleet has ever been more than ten years old.
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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.