The recently retired general manager of Classic Cadillac GMC in Anniston is opening his own used-car lot at the site of the former Jacksonville Auto Sales, a name he’s decided to keep.
“I like the idea of doing my own thing,” said Boyles, who believes his 26 years of management experience will serve him well as he opens his own business. He retired in July after 28 years in the business, he said, because he tired of the corporate atmosphere of his of his previous store.
Boyles said he isn’t troubled by the economic climate because he’s seen some promise in the niche market he’s targeting: second and third cars for families, including first cars for new drivers to get them through college.
Industry trends show that Boyles may have reason to be confident about the used-car market. According to the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s annual report, used-car sales are back up to pre-recession levels. In 2011, 13.8 million used vehicles were sold nationwide, surpassing the 13.7 million mark from 2006. This is up from a low of 11.7 million in each of 2008 and 2009.
Boyles is among a number of new business owners in the industry. During the recession, the number of independent used-car dealers fell to a low of 36,400, but had grown to more than 37,500 as of last year.
The health of the industry in Alabama is good, said Charles Moring, president of the Alabama Independent Automobile Dealers Association. The supply of used cars is tighter at the moment, he said, because of slower new-car sales and the federal Cars Allowance Rebate System, commonly known as cash-for-clunkers, which paid rebates for inefficient vehicles to be scrapped when consumers purchased new fuel-efficient vehicles. But despite the tight supply, Moring said the used-car industry is in good shape, because — especially in this economy — for many people “buying a used car just makes common sense.”
Customers at Boyles’ lot will primarily see cars in the $7,000-$15,000 price range, with the bulk of his 25-30 vehicle inventory in the $10,000-$12,000 range. The cars, he said, he’s been able to hand-pick from trusted wholesalers and local dealers so he’s sure of the product he’s getting.
Boyles said he’ll offer financing through local credit unions and several banks, but not the ‘buy here, pay here’ approach that has become popular among used-car dealers.
Though now his own boss, Boyles said his approach to selling cars will remain the same.
“I have a good name in this town and in Calhoun County, and I plan on keeping that,” he said.
He said he’s straightforward with customers: “No dealer fees, no dock fees,” he said. “Everything will be clear-cut in the deal. We’ll be doing business with home folks.”
Opening his new store will also put Boyles back in his home community full-time. He said he’s excited to become more involved in community events, noting the Jacksonville Christmas Parade and high school and Jacksonville State University football games.
Boyles is planning to open his doors and begin selling cars Dec. 1, with a grand-opening event to follow after the first of the year.
“Sure, I’m a little nervous about it, as anyone would be starting out,” Boyles said, “but I’ve done it long enough ... I’m putting my experience to the test.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.