While other car dealers around the country are busy wringing their hands, John Wentling is counting his cash.

    Wentling, with G&G Car Superstores in Dodge City, said Friday that the automotive market in the area has remained largely unaffected by recent economic headaches.


    While other car dealers around the country are busy wringing their hands, John Wentling is counting his cash.
    Wentling, with G&G Car Superstores in Dodge City, said Friday that the automotive market in the area has remained largely unaffected by recent economic headaches.
    "We're looking great," he said. "We've got such an insulated economy here, we just had to tighten our belt and cut a few expenses here and there."
    To help the car lot stay on top of things, Wentling said managers were asked to take about 2 percent out of their operating budgets as the economy continued to decline.
    "We've gotten rid of the luxuries, and we're working with basics," he said.
    It seems to have paid off. Wentling said sales at his lot were up between 6 percent and 8 percent over last year. And while truck and SUV sales had dipped, more and more people were moving to small cars.
    G & G isn't alone.
    Thom Petty, general sales manager for Frontier Ford Lincoln Mercury Kia, said that because a large chunk of Dodge City's industry relies on farming, the area didn't feel as much of a pinch as other regions.
    "We're in an economic bubble because of farming," he said. "Where the East and West Coasts are run by business, we're kind of in an area where we're not really affected."
    Petty said Ford was reporting close to a 272 percent boost in western Kansas when it came to truck sales.
    "I think we're doing excellent," he said.
    Shane Johnson, general sales manager for Brent Magouirk Chevrolet-Cadillac in Dodge City, echoed Petty.
    "We're maintaining pretty good," he said.
    Like Petty and Wentling, Johnson said that Dodge's agricultural market was allowing car dealerships — at least the larger ones — to stay relatively safe from the woes their brethren are seeing around the country.
    "I have buddies in this business on both coasts," Petty said. "They're singing the blues about their sales being down. A lot of people are downsizing."
    Thankfully, he said, it looked like Dodge was safe for now.

    Reach Mark Vierthaler at (620) 408-9908 or e-mail him at mark.vierthaler@dodgeglobe.com.