New N.H. car registrations jump 20% in first quarter

Registrations of new cars in New Hampshire increased 20 percent in the quarter ending March 31 — a vindication of the federal government’s decision to bail out the auto industry, according to Peter McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association.”It shows the federal government made the right decision in financially assisting General Motors and Chrysler, both of which have roared back the last couple of years,” McNamara said.According to the state Division of Motor Vehicles, there were 25,128 new car registrations in the first three months of 2012, some 4,159 (or 19.8 percent) more than in the first quarter of 2011.That’s the biggest increase by quarter since early 2008, prior to the economic downturn. The rebound is fueled by the greater availability of credit, a generally improved economic outlook, and the need for motorists to replace the “oldest car fleet on record,” said McNamara. New Hampshire cars on the road now average 11 years on the road, he said.Apparently the higher price of gas has had little impact on sales. Gas would have to rise above $4.50 a gallon to switch to more fuel efficient cars, according to the association. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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