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New car sales are on the rise

March 21, 2011|By Colleen Ferreira (cferreira@wsbt.com)

MISHAWAKA — Did your car survive this harsh winter?

If not, you may be shopping around for a new ride this spring.

Dealerships say they're beginning to see a new trend when it comes to buying a car.

It seems people are leaning toward buying brand new cars rather than used and pre-owned cars.

Ann Landis from Granger just bought her family a brand new sport utility vehicle.

"They had me test drive a used and then they worked up the pricing on a new Pilot, and the pricing was so close," Landis said.

The new car was still in her price range.

“When your difference between the new and used gets within $1,500 to $2,000, your cost benefit is better to go new," said Jay Basney from Basney Honda.

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Basney has seen more people buying new cars.

And it's much the same for Gates Chevrolet.

“We’ve seen an increase in both new and used, it’s just that the new has seemed to pick up a little greater," said Matt Helmcamp from Gates Chevrolet.

So why this new trend toward the newer cars?

Basney said when the economy took a beating in 2008, car buyers opted for a used car to save money.

But now, things have changed.

“When you're used to going to the auction and buying cars for your used car lot, you're not seeing as much, supply is a lot shorter," Basney said.

And that's caused used car prices to stabilize and in some cases, go up, a reason the price difference is so small between the new and used cars.

Landis said her purchase goes beyond the bells and whistles.

A new car would save her money because it gives her better gas mileage.

For her family, a new car is worth it.

"I think the factory incentives, what they're willing to give you when you're purchasing new is much better than used," Landis said.

One couple at Basney Honda traded in their minivan Monday for an SUV and there was a $10,000 price difference between the new and used car, so they went with the used car.

So you're not always going to see a small price difference between the two.

The financial manager as Basney Honda said interest rates are very low right now on both used and new cars.

At Basney Honda they have a 0.9 percent rate for new cars and rates as low at 3 percent for used cars.

He said these rates are definitely bringing more people in to purchase new cars.

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