Auto Dealerships Share the Community Benefits of Shale Development

This week, Energy in Depth – Ohio traveled to Columbiana to get a sense of the real benefits auto dealerships are seeing from shale development.  Recently, the Youngstown Business Journal published the article “Shale Dollars Fuel Auto Sales in Columbiana County.”  The article highlighted the increase in profits at four different dealerships in the area.  We visited Columbiana Ford to speak with the employees and get their take on the area’s changing economic landscape.

The Youngstown Business Journal gave some insight on Columbiana Ford’s increasing success:

“To keep pace with demand, the dealership had to double its inventory this year and is looking forward to 2013 models of the Ford Escape and Fusion to maintain its pace”—Shale Dollars Fuel Auto Sales in Columbiana County, 9/11/12

General Manager Todd Dauterman took some time to speak with me about Columbiana Ford’s specific success and the impacts he’s seen shale development have on the local communities.  Like most, he explained restaurants, hotels, and gas stations are crowded from the influx of people and money.  This influx of money has led him to a plethora of new customers and a high demand for trucks.  He stated that sales for new vehicles are up 20% and used vehicles sales are up 10%.  Dauterman beamed when he remembered a customer coming in to buy their very first truck and having the money to buy a brand new F150.  He also told us he expects more benefits are to come:

We think 3-4 years down the road even when people get money from their leases, you’re going to see even more of a boom, more jobs, more opportunities—Todd Dauterman, General Manager Columbiana Ford (1:06)

Energy in Depth – Ohio also got a chance to talk to Service Manager Jeff Medure about the increase in business the service department has seen.  Not only do they have more business from people in the oil and gas industry, but more people are driving cars and trucks in general:

Shale has impacted us greatly in the last 3 months, from the business we’ve got here personally at Columbiana Ford seeing an upwards of 8 vehicles a day from them, just to even the local impact we’ve seen business wise—Jeff Medure, Service Manager Columbiana Ford (:04)

Overall, the employees of Columbiana Ford were visibly excited about the future of their business.  Dauterman says he has talked to auto dealers in West Virginia who have been a part of Marcellus Shale development.  The Marcellus play is a few years ahead of Utica development and these out-of-state dealers told Dauterman that business will only get better with time.

Families across eastern Ohio are seeing new jobs and higher salaries because of shale development, giving them an opportunity to buy vehicles and feed money back into the local economy.

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