Chicago—March 9, 2009—According to a recent Cars.com survey, 32 percent of car shoppers who were thinking of buying a new car are now looking for a more affordable used car as a result of the economy. That's up 5 percent from last October, when 27 percent of in-market shoppers said they would switch from buying new to buying used.
Certified pre-owned and used-car shopping activity continues to be strong on Cars.com, with consumer contact to dealers through the Cars.com website up 18 percent year-over-year for used cars, and more than double that for certified pre-owned cars.
"Consumers are still focused on cost-cutting, and one way to do that is to find a solid used car to help save on the depreciation costs that typically come with buying a new car," said Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. "Manufacturer certified pre-owned programs also offer consumers a good value by giving them some of the benefits of a new car--extended warranties and certified inspections--but with the price of a used car."
According to the survey, consumers are also showing an increased willingness to extend the financing on their purchase. Currently, the median length of time consumers consider acceptable for a car loan is 60 months, up from 48 months just five months ago. However, the biggest change in the past 5 months has been the number of consumers willing to accept a loan of either 72 or 84 months, which has jumped from 10 percent to 26 percent.
"Obviously, the economy has consumers looking for ways to save by extending loans and cutting monthly payments," Olsen said. "However, the real risk with that is consumers may wind up upside-down on their loan, owing more money on the car than it's worth. Consumers looking for these types of loans are better off looking for cars that hold their value longer."
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).