You’re About to Save Money on a Used Car

There’s a perfect storm of conditions coming together to ensure that car buyers can walk away with the deal of a lifetime on a late-model used car.

It began in 2014, when automakers wanted to jump-start their sales by offering crazy low lease terms to lure folks into dealerships. It worked and new car sales and leases have increased steadily until this year.

The momentum of new car sales is starting to slow, partly because the cars leased in 2014 and 2015 are now coming off lease. In fact, an estimated 12 million low-mileage vehicles will come off lease by the end of 2019. Continue reading >>>

Bad News for Finance Company Means Good Deals on Used Cars

Following financial news is about as invigorating as watching cantaloupe ripen, which is why the vast majority of us don’t include it as a regular pastime.

Financial developments, though, can have lasting impacts on our lives and affect the ease with which we buy houses, cars, and other items that typically require financing. Trends in the automotive finance industry can also provide a glimpse into the future of car prices and help us find the perfect timing for purchasing a new or used car.

With that in mind, we have some interesting news to share from Ally Financial, formerly GMAC, that might be good news for used-car shoppers who love to take home a great deal.

The news is not so great if you’re an automaker, a dealership, or the CEO of Ally. Continue reading >>>

Toyota FJ Cruiser: The Unlikely Collectible

2014_toyota_fj_cruiser

I may have accidentally cost myself a lot of money.

Since my son was about 10, he’s been in love with the Toyota FJ Cruiser and obsessed with having one as his first car. Being a loving and supportive dad, I told him that I’d pay half and match his contribution to buying one when the time came.

My son is 14 now, and his driving years are getting frighteningly close. He’s still set on having an FJ Cruiser, but prices haven’t exactly fallen like I expected.

Insead, some used FJ Cruisers are selling for more than when they were new. What’s going on?

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End of 2015 a Great Time to Buy a Used Car

2013 Audi Q3 vail-28

If you have any money left over after buying all those holiday presents, now is a great time to consider buying a used car.

Prices Are Down As reported here at CarGurus, the average price of a used car is down approximately 3 percent from the annual peak in May 2015. Prices are projected to drop by another 1.5 percent through the end of January.

Don’t delay, though. As mentioned in more detail below, you might want to get that used car before Dec. 31, if possible, for tax reasons.

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Is Your Used Car Worth What You Think?

BMW 328i

Not long ago the auto world panicked over the exceptionally high price of used cars. A perfect storm of unfortunate events contributed to a shortage of pre-owned vehicles.

Back in 2007–2008, the U.S. economy took a nosedive. Soon after, American automakers filed for bankruptcy. Then, in early 2011, an earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan halted production there. Potential car buyers everywhere put purchases on hold. Car leases were all but eliminated, which of course caused a serious shortage of lease returns, typically a major source of quality used cars.

With new car sales at a halt and people holding on to their existing cars for much longer, the prices of late-model used cars were through the roof. In fact, sometimes it was more expensive to buy used than to buy new.

Finally, some 5 years later, things are getting back to normal.

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Used Car Prices Change Again—Should You Buy New?

1929 Duesenberg

The 1929 Duesenberg: Holding its value just fine!

Unless you’re in possession of a 1929 Duesenberg, there’s bad news for sellers of used cars.

On the other hand, if you’re a regular Joe in the market to buy a used car, there’s plenty of good news to go around. There’s also good and bad news for new-car buyers, too.

Confused?

Just keep reading, and all will become clear!

First, the Duesenberg:

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How to Deal with Sandy’s Devastating, Nationwide Effects on Cars

Cars flooded by Hurricane Sandy

Water enters a parking garage in New York City

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy is hard to witness. Lost lives and destroyed property put into perspective what is important in life, but they also force us to deal with the effects and consequences of natural disasters.

After we make sure people are safe and the basic infrastructure of our cities is up and running again, we’re eventually going to have to deal with lost and damaged vehicles. A lot of them.

The issue of flooded cars has been covered here before, but after this storm the problem needs to be addressed again. We don’t know how many vehicles were lost in the massive storm, but it’s safe to say more than we can even estimate right now will be totalled out by insurance companies. Unfortunately, many of these flooded cars will be shipped across the country and re-sold. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma damaged over 600,000 cars. Many of those still come up for sale today.

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New Dealer Programs Could Mean Lower Used-Car Prices

2012 Honda Accord

When dealers chase incentives and sell at a loss, used-car prices take a dive soon afterward.

Certain incentives from automakers, called stair-step incentives, are coming back in a big way. For consumers, that means good deals are available, or will be soon, on many new and used cars. For dealers, it can mean significantly less money if the gamble to offer discounts doesn’t generate enough sales.

Stair-step incentives artificially depress the price of some vehicles while targeting certain other models for which the automaker hopes to boost sales. Do they work? That depends, of course, on who you ask.

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Should U.S. Government Impose a Ceiling on Used Car Prices?

In 1944, the United States was in the midst of fighting a world war. Many manufacturing and production resources were devoted to the war effort, leaving other manufacturing to shut down completely. Even new car production was put on hold, with existing stock of autos sold only to those approved by the government.

That put a higher demand on used vehicles and, as you might expect, prices soared. In some cases prices doubled or even tripled from their pre-war levels.

Jumping to modern times, the 2011 state of auto sales is in a much different position. The industry still faces its problems, though, and the past few years have been especially troublesome for new-car inventory.  Our country has been at war, our economy is taking punches to the chin and auto manufacturers have dealt with everything from high national unemployment to natural disasters that crippled production and sales.

New car sales are down, used car sales (and prices) are up.

In 1944, the U.S. government’s Office of Price Administration solved the problem of soaring used car prices by imposing a ceiling on them. That’s a nearly unthinkable proposition today, but what if it happened?

First, a little more on the 1944 ceiling and how it worked.

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Used Car Prices at Highest Levels Ever

Toyota Prius

My intent today was to write a story about the most stolen vehicles in America. And I’ll get to that.

While researching the story, though, I came across a newscast by AutoNews that said used car buyers are paying as much as $3,000 more than they did just six months ago. Kelley Blue Book similarly reports that used cars are now “more expensive than ever.”

That’s great if you happen to be in the business of selling used cars or have a car you want to unload. But it sucks for car buyers and only makes some vehicles even more appealing to steal.

Continue reading >>>