It's not easy, selling cars these days

December 14, 2008 

ARLINGTON — From his desk in the front corner of the showroom, Pete Argumaniz anxiously scans the rows of new cars and trucks at Classic Buick Pontiac GMC in Arlington, hoping someone’s ventured out on this cold windy day to shop for a new vehicle.

There haven't been many buyers or even shoppers lately. In a typical month, Argumaniz says he sells 10 to 15 new General Motors vehicles, earning a steady stream of commissions.

But in November he sold just two. In December, he's split two deals with colleagues. One was a GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle, the other a GMC Acadia, a popular new crossover vehicle.

"This is a scary time for us," says Argumaniz, 49, who has been selling cars for nine years, the last 3 1/2 at Classic. "The thought of changing careers is going through my mind right now."

It's a slow day at Classic, which is to say a normal one lately. A decorated Christmas tree with wrapped packages under it sits next to the main entrance, a symbol of a season that's supposed to be about joy and hope.

The sales staff members have hope; they have to. Today could be a good day. But their faces show more worry than joy.

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