SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

July 30, 2013

Used car’s $ dropping

RON CAMPBELL THE JOHNSON CITY (TENN.) PRESS    Used-car prices have been falling since 2011, and they’re expected to decline gradually for the rest of this year. Among 3-year-old models, prices of small and midsize cars and small SUVs have fallen the most this year. This used-car lot is in Johnson City, Tenn.

New car too expensive? Used-car prices dropping

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DETROIT — Is that new set of wheels out of your price range? Used cars have gotten more affordable, especially if you’re looking for a small car or a hybrid. • Used-car prices have been falling since 2011, and they’re expected to decline gradually for the rest of this year. That’s good news for those joining or reentering the workforce, or anyone else who might find a payment on a new car too steep.

There is volatility. Prices of used cars are typically higher at the start of the year, when dealers buy vehicles at auctions in advance of the spring selling season. They decline as the year goes on. The price of a 3-year-old car fell 4 percent from April to June, Alex Gutierrez of car-pricing company Kelley Blue Book estimated.

Used-car dealers get many of their vehicles from auctions run by companies such as Manheim, a division of Cox Enterprises of Atlanta. The average price of a used car at auction was $11,031 in June, down 6 percent from its peak in May 2011, Manheim reported this month. The 2011 peak was the highest price that Manheim had seen since it began collecting data in 1995.

In 2009, new-vehicle sales fell to 10.4 million, a 30-year low. Two years later, used cars were in short supply, and prices rose so high that it made sense for consumers to buy new.

Supply and demand have turned around. New-car sales picked up in 2010, and now, far more used cars are in the pipeline. Buyers shopping for a 3-year-old car can expect to pay 25 or 30 percent less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a new model.

If you’re looking for a used car, check prices online and then decide whether you want to go through a dealer or through an individual. Private sellers will often give you a better deal, but dealerships offer certified pre-owned cars that have gone through inspections and might offer better warranties.

What you can expect to pay now for 2010 vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book:

• Small cars: Prices on the smallest and most fuel-efficient used vehicles fell rapidly between April and June as gas prices moderated and automakers enticed buyers with deals on new models. The price of a 2010 Toyota Prius fell 15 percent during the past three months, from $18,600 to $15,800. Prices of small cars such as the Honda Civic and Ford Focus are down 8.5 percent. The average price of a 3-year-old small car was $13,000 in June.

• Midsize cars: The value of midsize cars such as the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata has been hurt by the arrival of several new or redesigned models in the past year, including the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. Prices of used midsize cars are down 6.9 percent to $14,503.

• Luxury cars: Luxury cars held steady: Used-car prices fell just 1 percent to $28,692. But Gutierrez expects a steeper drop in July, when luxury vehicles’ values tend to fall as owners anticipate new models coming in the fall.

• Small and midsize SUVs: Prices of hot-selling midsize SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer are down just 4 percent, to an average of $20,581. Small SUVs such as the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V are down 7 percent to an average of $17,548.

• Trucks: Pickup trucks are in demand as small businesses replace older trucks. Prices of used full-size pickups such as the Chevrolet Silverado were flat between April and June, at $21,854. Prices of small pickups such as the Toyota Tacoma are down 1 percent to $17,119.

(As you know, “smokinchoices” is dedicated to  radiant health and what it takes to get, and keep it while enjoying life.  Part of that enjoying of life has to do with making ends meet not only physically, but aesthetically and emotionally and financially.    So when something catches my eye, I pass it on to you. 

I figured that some of you may be facing the need to secure new wheels; ergo, this piece.  Happy hunting.   Jan)



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