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SALT LAKE CITY -- When the nation's economy took a dive several years ago, people took a look at their financial situations and made personal cut-backs. For many, that meant delaying major purchases -- especially automobiles - - and the auto industry certainly felt it.
"The fleet (vehicles on the road) is about 10.8 years old. That's the average age of the fleet," said Craig Bickmore, Executive Director of the New Car Dealers Association.
Annual sales went from 17 million one year to under 10 million the next. But, people are now buying again.
"The number I'm hearing in the next couple of years, 14, maybe 15 million car sales in the United States. And that's very healthy," said Brent Brown of Brent Brown Toyota.
And that's evident at the auto shows currently underway around the country. The crowds are big and enthusiastic. A record crowd is expected at the Utah International Auto Show in Sandy this weekend. The manufacturers, of course, use these shows to display their new models, which is key for people who are about ready to make a purchase. But, making a decision isn't easy.
"An interesting fact about this show that holds true, is that about 40 percent of the buying decision is changed when they come to an auto show like this," Bickmore said.
With 400 models on display at the Utah show, it's understandable that someone might make a decision based on what they see at the show. But that's part of the fun, too.
"If you love cars, it's a candy store," said Kirk Schneider, Auto Expo Chairman.
The Auto Expo is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the South Towne Expo Center.