EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

January 6, 2013

New models make 2013 outlook brighter

The year 2012 was a good one for the auto business. Car dealers across America sold approximately 14.5 million vehicles through the 12-month span. That was about 12 percent more than the prior year, 2011, when recovery from the rock-bottom recession levels of 2008 and ‘9 gained momentum.

Observers of the car biz expect more improvement this year. They prophesy that annual U.S. car sales will top 15 million in 2013. That will put them one year away from fully recovering to the 16-million-plus level achieved before the recession hit about five years ago, the prognosticators predict.

Desirable new models that tempt drivers into showrooms certainly will help propel another year of growth. For a glimpse at new, 2013 introductions that fit the formula, I asked area dealers to list the new vehicles they find most promising.

Toyota Avalon

“The new Avalon is a really hot car,” said Zack Mangold, sales manager at Rockingham Toyota Scion Honda in Salem, N.H. “It’s gone to a younger look, with a more stylish, more hip exterior that’s hitting a new audience.”

Toyota positions the Avalon as a premium mid-size sedan. That separates it from the top-selling Toyota Camry, a model designed with more mass appeal. The re-engineering and re-styled, 2013 Avalon looks the premium part, with a fluidly athletic body shape. At a starting price of $31,785, the car comes with such features as power adjustable, heated front leather seats, heated outside mirrors, touch-screen audio display and alloy wheels. In addition to the standard, V6-powered model, the 2013 Avalon also includes a hybrid-drive version. It starts at $36,350, just $2,360 higher than a gas-powered Avalon with the same level of features.

The new, 2013 Avalon went on sale in early December. “Interest has really spiked,” said Mangold of Rockingham Toyota. “People are coming in requesting them. They’re selling as they arrive at the dealership.”

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