AUGUSTA (AP) – A firm that tracks new cars sales in Maine says the number of dealerships is down from last year and car sales figures are also slipping.

Bart Haag is a partner in the accounting firm of Albin, Randall & Bennett, which tracks new car sales in the state. Haag says it’s a grind to be in the auto business right now and some people are walking away from it.

With gas above $4 per gallon, consumers are cooling off to SUVs and pickup trucks, which are filling up dealers’ lots.

There’s demand for hybrids and other fuel-efficient models, but dealers can’t get them fast enough.

Figures from Haag’s firm show the number of dealerships in Maine down four between May 2007 and the same month this year. Maine dealers sold 9 percent fewer cars between the first five months of 2007 and the same period this year.


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