Despite Weak Economy, Car Shoppers Say They Can’t Wait Any Longer

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With the economy still down, used car prices are up. And as we reported last Wednesday, gas prices are also rising. So why are many Americans planning to buy a car in 2011?

Well, we just can’t put it off any longer, claims car-buying website Autobytel in a new survey of its users it released this month.

“Almost 60 percent of those surveyed had put off purchasing or leasing a used or new car in the past because of the economic climate,” the What’s Hot Now survey found.”But interestingly, a huge majority – over 83 percent – said that they would be in the market for a vehicle within the next 12 months.”

Here are some more specifics…

“When asked what was motivating their decision to purchase, only 7 percent said that they had greater confidence in the economy, with the majority of respondents (55 percent) reporting that they needed to purchase or lease a car out of necessity or greater cost-efficiency (39 percent and 16 percent, respectively). Other factors in the decision to purchase or lease a vehicle included a newer or better style or model of car (20 percent).”

So, what are we going to buy in the new year? If Autobytel’s survey is to be believed, “63 percent of respondents said that the economy has affected their choice of car, with price, the cost of fuel, and the availability of pre-owned cars cited equally.”

But two vehicle information providers – Kelley’s Blue Book and NADAguides – say that’s only half right. They have their own data that shows Americans still like their SUVS and pickup trucks. Kelley’s recently released a list of the most-researched vehicles on its website, and while the ever-reliable Honda Accord and the gas-sipping Honda Civic rank No. 1 and 2, four others in the Top 10 were SUVs: Honda’s CR-V and Pilot, and Toyota’s Highlander and RAV4.

Meanwhile, NADAguide’s latest survey shows that while consumer interest in the Toyota Prius hybrid shot up 45 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, interest in minivans and trucks was even higher this year…

“Swagger Wagon interest shot up an astounding 84 percent as the Toyota Sienna led the minivan market research with moms and dads across the nation deeming it the cool kid hauler and an acceptable parental means of transportation. The NADAguides Analysts pointed out the truck segment saw interesting shifts as Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma gained consumer interest while the Dodge Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 slid slightly. Additionally, heavy duty trucks saw an overall increase in interest with Ford’s F-250 and F-350 up 13 percent and 22 percent, respectively.”

If you’re among the 83 percent who need to buy a car in 2011, be sure to check out:

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