If you're thinking about buying a car this winter, you're not alone. As the year draws to a close, 62 percent of new-car and used-car shoppers are looking to purchase a car. This is due primarily to year-end sales events, according to a Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence Consumer Sentiment survey completed in September.
Part of this eagerness may stem from customers putting off a purchase they planned to make earlier in the year. Of those surveyed, 42 percent noted difficulties finding the specific car they wanted, and 28 percent reported the inability to negotiate an acceptable price. Their concerns coincide with auto trends. Earlier this year, prices remained high for both new and used vehicles, a result of factors such as rising gas prices and the earthquake in Japan, which slowed production rates at Honda and Toyota for several months.
However, as the year draws to a close, supplies are back up and salesmen are itching to rack up sales. "Dealers are looking to clear their lots of remaining inventory to avoid paying taxes on unsold vehicles," says Graham Lapolla, founder and CEO of AutoQuire, an Atlanta-based car buying service.
Before you buy a car this winter, arm yourself with the tools you'll need to get a good deal on a new or used car. Here, Bankrate offers key guidelines to help make sure your purchase is a satisfactory one.