New car sales were expected to stay stagnant in 2018. But to the surprise of many auto industry experts, sales went up slightly thanks in large part to the strong U.S. economy.
There were more than 17 million new cars sold last year. It represented a 0.3 percent increase when compared to 2017.
The trend could continue well into 2019, too, as more and more people look to get behind the wheel of a new car. It makes now the best time to buy a vehicle.
Buying a brand-new car might not be in your best interest, though. You might be much better off going with something that you find on the used car market.
Take a look at why you should consider buying a used car now rather than going with a newer option.
There Are Plenty of Excellent Used Car Options Available
When people aren’t buying up new cars in bunches, it doesn’t bode well for the used car market. Since people are holding on to their old cars rather than trading them in, it can be hard to find a used car that you love.
But when new car sales are up, it’s the best time to buy a vehicle if you’re looking for something pre-owned. There are tons of options available, including everything from sporty coupes to spacious minivans.
There are also lots of great deals available for those looking to purchase a used car, truck, or SUV when new car sales go up. Since there aren’t as many people shopping for used cars, many dealers will offer better prices on their used vehicle inventory.
Interest Rates Are Rising Along With New Car Sales
When the new car market isn’t strong, lenders often try to entice people to purchase cars by offering them low-interest rates. It’s not out of the question for some lenders to extend 0 or 1 percent rates to car buyers.
But when new cars are selling like hotcakes, it’s a whole different story. Lenders have a little bit more leverage and can increase interest rates since they know some people will be more than happy to pay them.
With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to hear that the average interest rate for a new car loan topped 6 percent earlier this year. That made the average interest rate way higher than it was a year ago when it sat at under 5 percent.
There are some people who think the average interest rate could climb even higher, too. It’s why now might just be the best time to buy a vehicle. You can avoid paying more for a car in interest by buying now as opposed to a few months from now.
You can also save a significant amount of money in the coming years by going with a used car instead of a new one. The average price of a new car sits at more than $37,000 right now, which is almost twice as much as the average price of a used car. That means the interest paid on a new car will be a lot more than the interest paid on a used one.
New Car Deals Are Few and Far Between
Low-interest rates aren’t the only thing disappearing as new car sales rise. Many of the new car deals that dealerships often offer to customers are drying up as well.
New car dealerships will, of course, still try to give people the impression that they’re extending great deals to them. But in reality, they know that people are buying cars right now with or without amazing deals.
As a result, they don’t have to slash their prices much to get people to come down and take a look at their inventory. They can attract almost as much business without them since so many Americans are gung-ho when it comes to purchasing new cars right now.
In the near future, this could take a little bit of a toll on the used car market. Those who can’t afford to buy a new car without the usual deals might decide to go with a used car instead.
It’s yet another reason why now is the best time to buy a vehicle if you’re interested in a used car.
Tariffs Could Send the Cost of New and Used Cars Soaring
Sometime this spring, President Trump may decide to move forward with a plan to place tariffs of 20 to 25 percent on imported cars and imported car parts.
If Trump goes through with it, it could send the cost of both new and used cars skyrocketing. The thought is that the price of new imported cars could go up by as much as $5,000. New domestic cars, meanwhile, could go up by almost $2,000.
The threat of these tariffs has been enough to send some people running down to their local new or used car dealership. They know that now is going to prove to be the best time to buy a vehicle if the proposed tariffs are put into place.
There is still a lot of speculation over the tariffs and how they’ll affect the country as a whole, both inside and outside of the auto industry. But for now, it wouldn’t hurt to at least consider buying a car if you haven’t done it already.
Is Now the Best Time to Buy a Vehicle?
Buying a car now rather than waiting until later could be the best decision you make this year.
If you decide that you do, in fact, want to buy a car, take a look at the extensive used car inventory that we have to see what you might like. We can offer you excellent financing options and get you into a car that you love for the right price.
We can also answer any questions that you might have about figuring out the best time to buy a vehicle. Contact us today to speak with someone about your used car needs.