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Insurance, auto theft drive down boro car registration

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Soaring auto insurance premiums and car theft have discouraged many prospective car buyers in Queens and resulted in a moderate decline in the number of cars on borough streets, according to a car dealers trade group.

“It keeps getting worse,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

“Many auto dealers have found that prospective car buyers are so put off at the prospect of paying $3,000 or more for insurance on top of the cost of the car that they decide against the purchase,” Schienberg said.

A 32-year-old resident of Maspeth said his insurance, covering only liability, runs around $3,200 and a young Astoria man who is under 25 said a six-month premium costs $1,563.49.

“New cars are affordable with low interest rates, various arrangements and leasing, but the higher and higher insurance rates are a burden many prospective car buyers are unwilling to undertake,” Schienberg said.

He conceded that auto theft rates in Queens have been a factor in past years, while other car owners point to the economy and the challenge of finding a place to park.

Auto theft has plummeted in recent years in Queens but still poses a problem for car owners.

The New York Automobile Dealers Association, using data from New York Auto Outlook, said the number of new registrations in Queens dropped by more than 4 percent to 40,461 in the first nine months of 2003 from 42,283 in 2002. Registrations were down 5.5 percent in Brooklyn to 22,499 in the January-September period last year, down 11.8 percent in the Bronx to 12,070, down 1.5 percent in Manhattan to 19,486 and down 1.4 percent in Staten Island to 22,499.

Nevertheless, the auto dealers predicted a moderately good year for car sales throughout the city in 2004 and 2005 but cautioned sales might decline a bit in 2006.

The agency said Queens accounts for 11.3 percent of all car sales in the greater New York City area market, Nassau and Suffolk each 23.4 percent, Brooklyn 6.1 percent, Staten Island 6.4, Manhattan 5.6 percent, Rockland County 5 percent, Westchester County 15.5 percent and the Bronx 3.5 percent.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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