One of the byproducts of the nation’s most recent recession and the sluggish economy that remains is Americans are holding onto their vehicles, on average, for 10 years.
This is great news for car repair shops, which are keeping millions of older cars on the road, but not such great news for new carmakers and dealers, which have seen sales plummet since 2007, when the recession was announced.
Carmakers responded to the sales slump by cutting production, and inventory is down, making 2012 not exactly a buyers market. But if you can wait no longer to replace your car and are looking for a new car, you can still find good deals if they consider these five things:
Lease. Used car values continue to rise, and that usually leads to better leasing deals. That’s exactly what’s happening now. Generally speaking, leasing offers are as good as they’ve been in recent memory. Honda, for example, is offering especially good deals, with monthly lease payments about 60 percent of car payments for buyers. Depending on the type of car you want and how much you plan to drive it, it very well may make more sense to lease than to buy.
Time your purchase. This is a smart thing to do in any economy regardless of what you plan to buy, and it’s especially true with vehicles. After you have narrowed down your choices, find out when manufacturers are releasing new models for those vehicles. After the new models arrive at car lots, start shopping for a current-year model, which may have been test driven only a few times, but are considered a year old and are less expensive.
Car dealers this year want to get rid of 2012 models to make room for more 2013 models, which, of course, cost more. As the year goes on, 2012 models will become cheaper by the month.
Take advantage of attractive financing deals. Car dealers still make a lot of money on used cars, and some are willing to offer zero-percent financing deals to sell new ones. Depending on where you live, you can find zero-percent offers for selected Toyotas, Mazdas, Volkswagens and Hyundais, to name a few.
Buy a large vehicle. Gas prices have plummeted in recent months, and some analysts say we may not see $4-per-gallon gas for a long time because of massive shale discoveries in the United States that may make our country less dependent on foreign oil.
This may or may not be true, but if this comes to pass, you may want to consider a gas guzzler. Car dealers and manufacturers are more likely to offer cash incentives for big vehicles, such as the Jeep Liberty, Chevrolet Avalanche, Ford Expedition and others.
Consider a car that is about to be redesigned. Every year car makers try to excite the car buying public by redesigning certain models. Find out which models are about to be redesigned and then consider whether you can see yourself in one of the current-year models, which will soon look dated.
If you don’t care about that, you will be in a position of power as you negotiate with car dealers, who want to get rid of the older models. The Chevrolet Malibu and Impala models are about to be redesigned, and dealers are offering as much as $3,500 cash back on 2012 models.
Photo Credit: NRMA Cars