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July Used Car Sales Hit “Blockbuster” Proportions

New car demand slipped as month dragged on.

by on Aug.01, 2011

Used car sales hit "blockbuster" proportions in July, according to one key industry analyst.

While July new car sales appeared to weaken as July dragged on, it appears to have been a great month for anyone with a used car to sell.

The struggling economy — and uncertain job prospects, in particular – seem to be leading many shoppers to try to curb spending by shifting to “previously owned,” rather than new vehicles, notes Art Spinella, chief analyst with CNW Marketing.

That meant an estimated 13.5% jump in use car demand last month, to 4.5 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  If the numbers hold, that would be the highest level of demand since July 2005.

Last month started out strong on the new car front, as well, according to preliminary dealer data collected by J.D. Power and Associates.  But with the jobless rate still high and the month marked by uncertainty about the federal debt and the possible impact on the economy, many buyers appear to have been holding off on visits to the showroom.

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“The auto industry is having a difficult time shaking off adversity, as vehicle sales start the second half of the year better than June, but not as strong as many people had hoped,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “A recovery pattern is still expected, but the pace could be in question as reported weaker GDP growth in the first half of the year may dampen the outlook.”

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Used Car Sales Soaring, Driving up Prices

Hybrids, small cars in particular demand.

by on May.20, 2011

Prices for older hybrids, like this Toyota Prius, are soaring, but used car prices are up overall.

Looking for a used car?  Expect to have to look hard – and pay a lot more than you might have anticipated if you haven’t been in the market for a few years.

While new car sales continue their slow recovery from the Depression-era downturn of 2009, demand for “previously owned” vehicles” has soared to record levels.  But so have prices, with fuel-efficient hybrids and small cars in particularly high demand.  But even high-performance luxury cars are in strong demand, according to industry experts.

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“April used vehicle sales were up 12.3% compared to year-ago and 47.6% versus March,” notes Art Spinella, chief analyst with CNW Marketing.

In fact, franchised auto dealers scored big on the used car side last month, selling more than 1.3 million vehicles, a 10.7% increase, and the best month since April 2006, before the economy began to collapse.

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