Since the 2008 stock market crash, the US auto market has lost 23 million vehicles. This has netted the lowest per capita auto numbers since WWII. How crazy is that?! Couple this with the 2009 cars-for-clunkers governmental blunder and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which caused the Fukashima nuclear disaster, and you’ve set up one crazy global car marketing nightmare.
From January to July of 2009, and then again in 2010, the US has seen two long and steady rising used car markets. Obviously not all regions of the country were as affected as others, but mostly if you were buying regular consumer vehicles, you noticed that your money wasn’t going as far as it did prior to this stretch. Some vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner and Tacoma almost reached all time highs. One to two year old versions of these models were priced almost as high as new vehicles. How does buying used make sense when you don’t get any factory warrantee or special financing? The answer—it doesn’t!
A lot of people have driven their older cars to the point of total depreciation. Those people then look at the used car market and can’t believe what their money buys them. Most sit idly on the sidelines, wondering what to do. Buy used, or bite the bullet with something new? If you are like me, you might take advantage of some of the best manufacture incentives we’ve ever seen and buy (or lease, in my case) your first new car. How does it make sense to buy something that costs $15,000 and pay $300 per month and have a four to six year old vehicle with no factory warrantee or other benefits to help you feel comfortable your money was well spent? How about the same payment, and just gas, and that’s it? That’s what’s happening in the US today.
With the increase in manufacturer incentives, some of those “sidelined” players are now stepping back into the car game. New car sales and leases have been up fifteen to twenty percent and people are saving money by choosing lease programs that give them free maintenance and sometimes even waived monthly payments. A brand new economy car like a Toyota Corolla or a Nissan Sentra lease in the mid-$200s per month with zero out of pocket except your first month’s payment. If you need something that has all-wheel-drive, the Subaru lineup offers great values on the Impreza and Legacy sedans, which lease in the $250-300s with the all-popular Subaru Outback leasing in the low $300s.