Use the Drop in Subcompact Prices to Your Advantage


Looking for good, basic transportation? You can’t do much better than the used subcompact market, whether you’re searching for a used car or crossover.

But don’t think you’ll save only in the subcompact used-car market. Smart maneuvering could afford you savings in other segments as well….

According to the latest research from Black Book, which evaluates the used-car market by attending hundreds of used-car auctions a week, both used cars and crossovers have shown price drops far exceeding anything else in the used-car universe.

The Black Book Market Insights report identified a tough couple weeks recently for subcompact cars and subcompact crossovers, which both show strong declines so far in June. The good news for consumers is this depreciation is expected to continue throughout the coming weeks.

In other words, used subcompact car and crossover prices should continue to drop for weeks to come. Does that mean you should wait to buy a subcompact? Nope, because there are factors in the wind that could start shifting things quickly.

Fuel PricesAs the chart shows, fuel prices have started ticking upwards again. Gas is still relatively cheap, but a bad move by OPEC on supply could suddenly affect inventory and prices. Saudi Arabia is borrowing money, and the economies of other oil-producing nations are suffering as well. The presidential election could also affect gas prices in the coming months. A spike could regenerate interest in subcompacts and drive prices back up.

How can you use this information to your advantage, even if you’re not interested in a subcompact car or crossover? It requires a bit of fortitude, but you can save yourself lots of money if you can manage it.

Basically, what you need to do is negotiate the purchase of a used subcompact car. Strictly negotiate the price. Don’t get roped into determining what you can spend per month–and you don’t want to submit a credit application at this point. Tell the used-car dealer you have your own financing.

But right before you pull the trigger on a used Honda Fit, for example, suddenly express an interest in a CR-V. After seeing how value-oriented you are, the salesperson will treat you differently. You’ll still get a good deal while getting a larger car for not much more money.

Also, we are now at a point when people are trading in the subcompacts they bought during the last fuel crisis. That means lots of these cars and crossovers are flooding the user-car market, too. Look around your used-car dealer’s lot. Look for the subcompacts or compacts that seem like they have been sitting there for a while.

Dealers don’t want used cars (or new cars, for that matter) sitting on their lots for a long time, because they cost money. Dealers finance cars just like the rest of us.

Subcompacts have come a long way. They’re much roomier and safer than they once were. Consider them a viable alternative, especially if you don’t have a family to cart around. They’re a strong alternative for couples or singles, especially subcompact crossovers.

-Keith Griffin

Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

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