More shoppers plan to buy used cars than new cars over the next six months, even though in some cases new cars are cheaper.
About 67 percent of car shoppers surveyed by Kelley Blue Book plan to buy a used car, while only 33 percent plan to buy a new car.
In short, the used car business is back in business.
“We just finished up a quarter in May and our sales were up 9 percent over last year,” Carmax Raleigh Sales Manager David Brown said.
Sales aren’t the only thing that’s going up.
The average price of a used car on the Carmax lot is $1500 more expensive than this same time last year, Brown said.
Three-year-old car prices are up 11.1 percent over last year, according to the car site Edmunds.com.
In fact an Edmunds study lists more than 50 new cars that are cheaper than their one-year-old used counterparts when comparing the financing over 60 months.
That’s the key.
Used interest car rates are typically higher than many new car deals that come with low or no interest rates if you can qualify.
At Crossroads Ford in Wake Forest, five different models of new cars all boast zero percent interest rates for 60 months.
“You’ve get better warranties,” Crossroads Ford Manager Eric Kaplan said. “You’ve got more quality in the products. You’ve got interest free money [and it] makes for a good deal.”
Used cars that are more than one-year-old are 5.5 percent more expensive than last year and used car dealers say the thing driving the price increase is demand.
“Used cars are in larger demand than I think it was two years ago,” City Used Cars Owner Bill Hooten said.
City Used is selling more cars, but Hooten said finding quality, low-mileage used cars to sell is becoming harder as drivers opt to hold on to their cars longer.
“Consumers are wondering why they’re paying a good amount of money for a car that has more miles,” Hooten said.
So which is the better deal?
Edmunds.com still recommends used cars and Brown said the reasons are simple.
“You can avoid depreciation from buying new when you buy a used car,” he said. “You can also generally get a little more for your money.”
Still, don’t count new cars out because the price may just surprise you.