If you’re looking to drive into the new year on a new set of wheels, the timing is right to save some money on this big purchase! According to Kelley Blue Book, you can benefit from both year-end sales events and, if you wait until the end of the month, automakers and dealers looking to meet monthly sales targets.
But according to Automotive News, more Americans are likely to turn toward a used car for their next purchase. Both escalating vehicle prices and growing auto loan debt could be responsible for the growth of used car sales. Kelley Blue Book reported an average new car cost of $37,285 in June, up 3.1 percent from the same time the previous year. By comparison, Edmunds.com reported that the average price for a used car during the first quarter was $20,200 – up 2.5 percent over the previous year.
In fact, over the past five years, new-vehicle prices have risen by more than $4,000. Used car prices have also risen but at a slower rate of $2,000. In 2018, the price gap between new and 3-year-old used vehicles was 62 percent, meaning a customer could save an average of nearly $14,000 by purchasing used instead of new.
And financing carries its own rising costs. According to research by Lendingtree, Americans owed more than $1.16 trillion in auto loans as of March 2019, an increase of $47.7 billion over the same period in 2018. Fortunately, Ohio credit unions offer lower average loan rates on both new and used car loans. In fact, Credit Union National Association estimates that financing a $25,000 new automobile for 60 months at an Ohio credit union will save members an average of $109 per year in interest expense compared to what they’d pay at other financial institutions in the state.
So if a new or used car purchase is in your near future, don’t miss this opportunity to save with year-end sales or by financing through a credit union!
Tips for Buying a Car
- Calculate which car buying option is best for you. Prepare ahead of your purchase by calculating and weighing your car buying options. Will you buy new or used? Will you lease? Every individual’s scenario is different, so you should choose the option that best fits your specific transportation, mileage, and budgeting needs.
- Don’t buy more car than you want or need. If you can’t afford and/or do not need the expensive equipment or options many cars have, then don’t pay the extra dollars. Just because a particular car – without all the bells and whistles – is not on the lot you’re shopping doesn’t mean the dealer can’t order it for you.
- Negotiate a lower price — or find a ready-made deal. Go into your car-buying experience knowing the price you want to pay by using one of the top car pricing websites such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds. Such sites reveal Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) sticker prices, dealer invoice prices, and average sale prices, so you know the true value of the vehicle you’re shopping.
- Shop all your options. Car shopping has never been an easier process than it is now. With online inventories, car buying services, and more – dealers are no longer your only option. Make sure to shop different vendors, compare the cars you’re shopping, and compare associated pricing.
- Decide what to do with your current vehicle. Selling your car to a private party can be cost-effective, but trading in your current car at the dealer might be easier. If you trade-in your car, make sure you know its current value and then evaluate the trade-in offer against a private sale to see which option would be the most beneficial to your situation.
- Don’t forget the coupons! Many car manufacturers offer rebates and cashback incentive programs on new or used cars. Others offer additional specials such as student and military discounts. Research these incentive programs online at the manufacturer and dealership websites to ensure you save every penny you can.
- Pre-approval – Apply for your auto financing from your credit union ahead of time. With a pre-approval, you’ll know exactly how much car you can afford, which can give you buying power, and prevent you from over-spending.