Gene Butman Ford invests in used car lot as new car sales decline
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
As new car sales dip, Gene Butman Ford is breaking ground on a new lot and building to help expand its used car sales.
When the lot is complete in May, Ken Butman expects the Ypsilanti Township dealership, 2105 Washtenaw Ave., will double its used car sales.
“The used car business is becoming more and more important to any car dealership for its success,” he said.
Butman attributed a decline in new car sales and a rise in used car sales to several issues. First, the base of Ford employees once employed in Ypsilanti Township’s manufacturing centers are not as numerous as they once were.
New cars also are being built better, so they are more expensive, but they are also lasting longer, Butman said.
That has led to more demand and used car sales doubling over the past two years. Where Butman Ford was once moving around seven used cars a month in 2010, they now hand over the keys to around 30 cars a month.
When the new 2.5-acre lot opens, Butman said he expects those numbers will likely spike to between 70 and 100 cars a month.
“There’s a real strong market in this area - and all over - for good, quality used cars,” he said.
Butman also commended his son, Nick Butman, who recently graduated from Northwood University with a degree in automotive marketing and has overseen the used car department as it expanded.
The more than $1 million investment will yield a building very similar in architecture and design to the main sales building, though it will be slightly smaller. It will take the place of a truck sales lot that has sat vacant for several years.
“It is going to be very exciting,” Butman said. “We have two full city blocks of frontage, and this is going to make quite a presence. The used cars are going to pop out. It’s going to look really nice.”
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.