Used Vehicle Price Guides Can Be Off by Thousands of Dollars
When supply is low, prices tend to go up. One main reason for the shortfall is due to the collapse of the car rental business. Rental fleets are ordering half the cars they used to, which means they don't have as many cars to sell to dealerships.
On top of this, 2007 and 2008 car sales were lower than usual, meaning less late-model used cars available. Furthermore, the "cash for clunkers" program sent 700,000 functional cars to the scrapheap instead of the used car market.
This shortfall in supply has led to a large increase in prices for used cars over the last several months.
So much so that used-vehicle guides such as NADA Guides and Kelly Blue Book have had a hard time keeping up. Many dealers have been complaining that the wholesale prices quoted in NADA Guides is often thousands of dollars too low.
Car shoppers who will be trading in their used car need to spend more time to determine what their car is truly worth. Don't just go by the guidebooks. You could be short-changing yourself by thousands of dollars.
Read our Guide to Selling Your Used Car to get the highest price for your car.
3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum MoneyThe key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:
Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted NetworkSelect the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirectTrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.
Step 3 Complete my ChecklistFollow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid