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Used Car Prices Hit Record High

October 15, 2009

Used Car PricesUsed car prices have hit an all time.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index rose 6.9% in September to 118.5, the highest on record. To give you some comparison, the index was at 100 in January 1995.

The reason for the price increase is simple: The supply of used cars has dwindled due to a combination of the "cash for clunkers" program and the fact that rental car companies are keeping their vehicles for a longer period, thus limiting the number of used cars entering the market.

If you're shopping for a new or used car, this won't affect you much if you have a trade-in. However, if you're shopping for a used car without a trade-in, then perhaps you should wait a few months.

Analysts are predicting the price increases won't last. Now that the "cash for clunkers" program is over, used car inventories should start creeping back up again.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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