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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.