By Tricia Bell, Multimedia Video Journalist - bio | email
Car sales are booming. Economic analysts from the Center for Automotive Research say vehicle sales in the first eight months of this year are up nine and a half percent over the same time last year. That could mean more jobs in West Central Ohio.
"We can't build enough to meet this market. So, the companies have to make decisions. We think they are. It's going to be a breakthrough on automotive employment," said Sean McAlinden, chief economist, Center for Automotive Research.
McAlinden adds that after several difficult years, the automotive manufacturers and suppliers that survived have an opportunity to grow, but many remain hesitant because of the scars left by the economic recession.
The data and economic growth forecasts were outlined during the Regional Auto Growth Summit held at the University of Northwestern Ohio. Dozens of automotive industry leaders from a ten county area attended the event.
"They need that kind of information every day in order to make good judgements about how to spend their money, and whether to grow their business, create jobs, refocus, bring other expertise in," said Mayor David Berger, Lima Auto Task Force.
The experts add that West Central Ohio already has some advantages within the market.
"It's a little bit of everything... it's that expertise... it's a fantastic location. I mean I75, right in the heart of the automotive corridor is just another sort of feather in the cap," said Bernard Swiecki, Center for Automotive Research.
Some area companies are experiencing the turnaround. Business is picking up at Metokote. The Lima company coats components for automotive manufacturers.
"There's no question things are a lot better than they were four or five years ago, and we're pleased to see our revenues grow in the state of Ohio and elsewhere around the world.
Car sales are also expected to remain strong for the next few years. That's because the fleet of cars out on the road are aging. The average age now stands at 11 years.