Car sales big business in Maine

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you so much for the great information you provide daily.

Each time I drive by the auto dealerships on Center Street in Auburn, from the fire station to the lake, I am amazed at the number of autos on display. My questions are:

1: How many different dealers are there (new and used)?

2. How many new car dealerships are there? Can you list them?

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3: How many new (and how many used) cars are available on any given day?

4: If possible, what is the cash value of the total number of cars?

I realize you may not get access to this information. I understand. I still thank you for hearing me out. — supered@wildblue.net

ANSWER: Your first question led Sun Spots to the phone book, where she found 30 listing for new car dealers and 49 for used. However, there is a great deal of overlap. Several large dealers (for example, Rowe, Lee) have separate lots for different makes of cars and/or are listed in both the new and used categories, so they have more than one phone number.

Sun Spots is afraid that listing them all would eat up too much space in the column, but if you go to Automobile, Dealers in the phone book they are broken down by “new” and “used.”

Because most car dealers are privately held (owned by individuals rather than shareholders), there is no public record of how many cars they have on their lots or records of their annual revenue — other than what they choose to reveal. And motivation to share those numbers is low. No dealer wants to be listed in Sun Spots as having the least number of cars with the lowest value!

The only record for the value of cars that Sun Spots could think of that would be accessible would be records for the purpose of vehicle registration. However, breaking them down by municipality gets a little bit trickier.

Many people live in small communities outside of Lewiston-Auburn where there are no new car dealers and thus would come into L-A or other service center cities to buy their vehicles. But they would register their vehicle and pay their property taxes in their hometown, so compiling numbers would be difficult.

Sun Spots did find some numbers from the National Automobile Dealers Association that may interest you. NADA reported that in 2010 in Maine, $2,772,000,000 worth of new cars were sold, with an average of $21,162,000 worth of cars per dealership, not equally split, of course, among the reported 131 new car dealers statewide.

In 2010, 45,926 new car registrations were recorded in Maine in 2010.

NADA also reported that as of 2010 there were 590,967 passenger vehicles and 605,129 light trucks in Maine.

You can read that report at www.nada.org (exact link: http://tinyurl.com/azf6jey)

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for all your research on our unique questions! I saved a Sun Journal Face Time with Randy Autrey of Bethel (Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012). I would like to find out how to get in touch with Mr. Autrey. He flies and instructs people to fly powered parachutes.

There was no contact information on Mr. Autrey in the article, but it spoke of him as one of the few instructors in the state of Maine for powered parachuting.

Several years ago, prior to the 9/11 attacks, I took a two-person test flight and fell in love with the sensation of flying with the birds, but I believe that company closed due to new government air regulations that were put into place due to the attacks.

If you could find out his contact information, I would appreciate it. Thank you, Mrs. Sun Spots! — No Name, Turner

ANSWER: Sun Spots found 824-0771 online and called. Randy’s wife said that this is the correct number to call and inquire about lessons.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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