LI car dealerships look to turn browsers into buyers

With Chrysler and General Motors on the brink of bankruptcy, their dealers on Long Island were pulling out all the stops Monday to turn browsers into buyers.
A Chrysler dealer in Wantagh was slashing prices, offering a fistful of incentives and counting on consumer confidence. And attractive financing lured a prospective customer from Queens to a Chevy dealership in Hicksville. "They have good interest, zero percent interest for 60 months, and that makes it easy for buying a car," says Evan Fridas.
Merrick Dodge Chrysler Jeep sold a record 164 new cars in December. This holiday week, it?s hoping to move another 60 to 70 vehicles with irresistible deals.
Presidents Day week is traditionally one of the biggest sales weeks for Long Island car dealers. However, this week takes on added significance for the U.S. auto industry with a flurry of activity in Washington.
Both GM and Chrysler will be asking for billions more from the government on top of what it has already borrowed. In addition, President Obama has decided to appoint senior administration officials instead of a "car czar" to oversee restructuring of the auto industry.
The stimulus package Obama is scheduled to sign Tuesday in Denver includes an incentive for car buyers. State and local sales taxes on car purchases will be tax deductible.