TOPSHAM, Maine(NEWS CENTER) - Besides being a holiday for many, and remembering our two greatest U.S. Presidents, President's Day has also become a key time of year for the automobile business.

Car dealers say the tradition goes back to when we used to celebrate Washington's Birthday, and the industry decided it was a good chance to hold special promotions to stimulate sales. Tom Santospago, general Manager of Lee Nissan and Toyota in Topsham, says the annual promotions have become crucial to the car industry.

He says its one last chance to sell off the remaining 2012 models, and clear the way for all the 2013 cars. As a result, says Santospago, manufacturers provide extra incentives and low interest rates to stimulate sales.

After a few rocky years for the car business, dealers say people are buying again, and that a lot of customers have been taking advantage of those Presidents day deals. And they say the response to Presidents Day promotions also says encouraging things about the economy in general.

The dealers say people are spending money. And while care sales over the past year have generally been good, one dealer said customers are now starting to buy higher-priced luxury models again, another sign, they say, of optimism about the economy.One more encouraging indicator: leases. Scott lane, general manager of Wiscasset Ford, says manufacturers are again promoting leases, an indication they have confidence buyers are ready to trade cars more often.

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