(Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 28--Two-for-one avocados? Two-for-one restaurant meals? Sure.
Now, with the economy tumbling, the concept has spread to automobiles.
Phil Long Hyundai has twofers, right here in the Chapel Hills Auto Mall.
Strictly speaking, it's not a two-for-one offer. The second vehicle costs a dollar. More important, you have to buy the top-of-the-line, $35,000 Veracruz, or the Santa Fe or Entourage, priced in the low- to mid-20s. And you'll pay full sticker price, which is almost unheard of these days. And for the extra buck you'll get an Accent, Hyundai's lowest-priced subcompact. And it'll be a stripped-down, two-door, standard-shift model.
And don't think you'll dodge the state's ownership tax. Bob Becker of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office said the annual tax is based on the vehicle's MSRP adjusted for its age.
Still, the twofer deal is nothing to sneeze at. The base price of an Accent is about $10,000, said Ken Patton, general manager of Phil Long Hyundai. Any customer who wants an automatic transmission or other upgrades can pay the surcharge, he said. And if the customer prefers to plunk down his dollar on a used car of comparable value, Patton will make you a deal.
"I've never seen it here," Patton said of twofer cars. But Tim Jackson, a spokesman for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, said such promotions began appearing in the state over the last year, when sales of gas-guzzling models were being hammered by the high price of fuel.
Gasoline prices are sharply lower now, but that problem has been replaced by record-low consumer confidence and a clampdown on credit. Consumers with money are holding onto it, and lenders aren't lending.
Patton began advertising the deal in The Gazette on Saturday. (No newspaper coverage was requested, promised or implied.)
Of 26 vehicles sold since then, 14 were twofers, Patton said. He estimated that a total of 18 vehicles would have been sold without the deal, and that traffic in his showroom was up 25 percent.
He said that his twofer customers so far had been planning to keep the vehicles all in the family, but that there was nothing to prevent bowling-league buddies -- or total strangers who met in the showroom -- from going in together.
Patton said the deal means "profit margins are very thin," but he acknowledged that slow sales had forced his hand.
Hyundai Motor America expected U.S. sales to increase in 2008, he said, but the economic slump and the shriveled credit market had hurt even gas-miserly brands. Acres of Accents, which are made in South Korea, are parked at ports of entry on the West Coast.
Patton said his dealership's sales were down 20 percent from a year ago. Jackson said the statewide forecast was for a 20- to 25-percent decline in new-vehicle registrations this year.
Patton said his crystal ball-gazers are telling him the market will not get worse, but may not improve for awhile.
"We're in a needs market," Patton said. "The folks that are coming in really have a genuine need that they've got to get something done." The "wants" people are staying home.
Patton said he hoped the federal government's announcement on Tuesday of a new $800 billion injection of capital into credit markets would lure more people to his showroom.
In the meantime, he is planning to continue the twofer offer into December.
He said he was merely borrowing a marketing device from supermarket and restaurant chains.
"We expect it there," Patton said. "That's kinda where the idea comes from."
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