DETROIT -- Move the clock back to 1981-1983 and you'll see used-car inventories uncomfortably similar to today's heavy supply, says industry veteran Tim Deese. In those days, the prime rate was 20%. And then it plunged. "Nissan was the first to lower its rate to 12.3% and everyone else followed," remembers Deese, president of Progressive Basics Inc., a dealership training company specializing in used car sales. Customers, wanting to take advantage of the lower rates, traded in their ...

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