Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Five New-Car Resolutions to Keep Consumers in the Driver's Seat in 2010

The final new-vehicle sales numbers are in for 2009. Although the new-car industry sales were up 15 percent for the month of December, it wasn't enough to pull the first half of the year out of the dumps and the worst sales year since 1970. Overall new-vehicle sales were down 20 percent last year.

While we're all expecting brighter days ahead in 2010, we're still in a recession despite what some economist are reporting. Just look at your 401-k (or 200.5-k), the foreclosures in your neighborhood, the number of folks who are unemployed (or underemployed) and the number of new-car dealerships gone out of business, this definitely doesn't reflect economic growth.

With this being the case, here are five new-car resolutions to keep in consideration, as you venture out to purchase your next vehicle.

1.Drive what you can afford
. Don't worry about keeping up with the Jones. Keeping up with them is what drove us into the mortgage crisis. Keeping up with the Jones could also lead to the repo man (or woman to be politically correct) making an unexpected visit. The repo business is booming in this down economy. Why should you help contribute to their workload?

2.Consider buying a pre-owned vehicle.
Remember a new vehicle automatically depreciates 20 percent, when its driven off the lot. Buying a one-year old pre-owned vehicle could save you thousands of dollars off of the sticker of a new. For instance, buying a new 2009 Infiniti M35x (all-wheel drive) with a technology package would have cost you just over $52,800. Conversely, the same vehicle one-year later with 9,000 to 18,000 miles can be purchased for around $36,000. Waiting for one-year and buying pre-owned could save you a whopping $16,800! Now that's money you can take to the bank (or place the savings in your bank account). This is the philosophy that was taught in 'The Millionaire Next Door'.

3.Consider leasing, if you like trading for a new-ride every two to three years.
Ok, you're never own the vehicle, but you'll avoid being in an upside-down situation, owing more on the vehicle than what the vehicle is worth. Why should you keep rolling in negative equity? Work out the numbers and know what the restrictions are before you decide to drive down this road. If you're a high mileage driver, this might not be the best option for you.

4.Get pre-approved first
. Why do folks select a vehicle and end up across from the finance manager without knowing their interest rate and a close estimate of your car payment? With all of the tools available today, this is just a foolish way of buying a vehicle. Visit our Car-Buying Toolbox, which is located on the left side of this page.

5.Consider refinancing.
Just like folks are getting modified mortgages, consider going to a credit union or community bank to refinance your vehicle, if you received a double digit interest rate from a dealer and you're in good standing. It never hurts to try. They can only tell you no. And if you don't have the best credit, it's never too late to establish a relationship with a community bank or credit union even if you don't qualify for financing (or refinancing) now.

Following the aforementioned steps could keep you out of trouble and also help put the economy back on track. Pass these tips on to a loved one, relative or co-worker. This could be your way of helping to stimulate the economy for 2010.

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