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Car Market Update for Fall 2023: New and Used Car Forecast

Car Market Update for Fall 2023: New and Used Car Forecast

Most car buyers don’t typically think of autumn as a great time to buy a car, but it’s the perfect time if you know where to look. Whether you’re planning to buy, hoping to sell, or are just curious about where the industry is headed, you’ve come to the right place. Buckle up as we steer you through the latest trends, from brand inventories and market conditions to financial forecasts. Let’s roll!

New Car Market Fall Update

The new car market still hasn’t reached so-called ‘normal’. Will it ever? Only a fool would make bold predictions after what we’ve all witnessed this decade. However, let’s talk about what we do know. 

This autumn, we’re seeing an increase in cars on the lot, yet a significant disparity persists between automakers in terms of inventory levels. The current industry average hovers just under 60 days in terms of Market Day Supply. Why should you care about Market Day Supply (MDS)? This metric is crucial when understanding how much bargaining power you might have at the dealership. Brands with a high MDS are more eager to shift their inventory, and therefore, more likely to negotiate on price.

The High Inventory Brands

New car deals this month

In the present market, Infiniti, Chrysler, Lincoln, Ford, Dodge, Buick, and Jeep have high inventory levels. This makes them prime targets for savvy buyers looking to negotiate a better deal. Here’s a look at nationwide inventory for the most negotiable new car brands:

MakeMarket Day Supply (Nationwide 9/1/23)
Market Average72

As you can see, all of these brands are dealing with a surplus of new car inventory right now. The longer that a new car sits on a dealer’s lot, the more negotiable it becomes for the knowledgeable car buyer. Dealers pay ‘floorplanning costs’ to keep inventory, so every day cuts into their profit margins. Learn how to use this information to your advantage with this 100% free Car Buying Cheat Sheet

Low Inventory But High Demand

Honda deals this month

On the flip side, if you’re looking at Kia, Honda, Subaru, Lexus, BMW, and Toyota, be prepared for a bit of a struggle. These brands are facing low inventory levels. In some instances, new arrivals are pre-sold before they even hit the lot!

Here’s nationwide inventory for these new cars:

MakeMarket Day Supply (Nationwide 9/1/23)
Market Average72

See local car market data for every make and model with CarEdge Data.

Surprisingly, Subaru remains a brand that’s willing to negotiate even when their inventory is low. Let’s take a look at some examples of today’s Subaru inventory:

Make ModelMarket Day SupplyTotal For Sale
SubaruBrand Average7189,879

Our Coaches frequently empower Subaru lovers with the skills to negotiate even low-inventory new and used Subaru models. Check out these success stories of what is possible!

car buying forecast

These are the top trends that our team of Car Coaches are watching this fall season. Each of these variables has the potential to disrupt the new car market in significant ways.

Inventory Surge: The buildup of new car inventory has already begun, but the question remains, will it last into fall? With sky-high interest rates continuing to dominate buyer’s mindsets, we think it will. We predict a buildup of new vehicle inventory as we near the end of 2023, slowly but surely.

Manufacturer Incentives: Manufacturer incentive spending is at a two-year high, accounting for 4% of the transaction price on average. Brands like Ram and Jeep have recently advertised new models at 10-15% below MSRP.  If manufacturers increased their incentives to pre-pandemic historical norms around 7-9%, that would entice more buyers to take action. We don’t expect automakers to raise incentives at such a rapid pace by winter, however.

The UAW Wildcard: There’s speculation of a 10-20 day UAW strike that could cause short-term hiccups. While we don’t expect this to be a game-changer, it’s something to keep an eye on. It would, however, be a bigger deal for automakers like Stellantis and General Motors. Analysts estimate that a 10-day strike would cost them about $5 billion.

CarEdge New Car Market Seasonal Rating: It’s a ‘fine’ time to buy a new car. 

Better deals are anticipated this winter, but depending on what vehicle you’re in the market for, this autumn just might be the perfect time to negotiate a great deal.

Used Car Market Fall Update

used car market update

While used car prices have slightly decreased, they are still far above historical averages. This means you’re unlikely to snag a bargain, especially if you’re gunning for a reliable vehicle with a clean history for under $20,000.

Pro Tip: Never enter the used car market blind. Always get a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) to understand the future maintenance needs and overall condition of the car.

The Trade-In Landscape

Trade-in values will continue to slowly decline as wholesale auction values are expected to keep falling. Following historically steep declines in wholesale used car prices in July and early August, we expect a more gradual decline in the fall. 

Whereas used cars, trucks and SUV values were falling at a rate of -1.00% to -1.5% weekly as of last month, we expect weekly used car values to decline by around -0.5% to -0.3% for most of this season. Why? There’s no indication that a glut of used car inventory will arrive on the market any time soon to drive down values quickly. 

The best used car sellers (especially those looking to trade-in) should hope for is slow but steady drops in value in September through November. You’re likely to get more for your trade-in or used car sale today than you will in a few months.

CarEdge Used Car Market Seasonal Rating: very difficult for buyers on a budget. 

This is especially true if you’re looking for a vehicle of decent, reliable quality for under $20,000. Interest rates incentivize large down payments and cash buyers, but most of us don’t have the means to put $10,000 or $20,000 down. 

No matter what, don’t give up. From free car buying resources to 1:1 expert help with your deal, the CarEdge team is here to help!

Take This Advice With You

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, here’s our most important advice for you: Generally, say NO to market adjustments. A lot has changed since the madness and mayhem of late 2021 and early 2022. The exceptions are true specialty vehicles like Ford Bronco Raptor or Toyota RAV4 Prime, which are so in-demand that markups are almost a given.

For most new and used car models, there’s no way car dealers could justify additional markups in 2023. Staring down a tough deal? Work with a Car Coach to negotiate the BEST deal possible.

We’ll leave you with these reader favorites (100% free). Happy car shopping!

Car Buying Cheat Sheet

Auto Finance Cheat Sheet

The Best Auto Loan Rates This Month

Out-the-Door Price Calculator

EchoPark Wants to Buy Your Car, And Will Pay a Premium

EchoPark Wants to Buy Your Car, And Will Pay a Premium

CarEdge Data

If you’re thinking about selling your car, you need to get a quote from EchoPark Automotive. Why would we insist that thousands of CarEdge Community members consider giving one online car buyer special consideration? Frankly, EchoPark is overpaying for used cars, and writing big checks to sellers in the process. Here’s what our team found using this free CarEdge offer comparison tool.

EchoPark’s Aggressive Bidding: A Windfall for Used Car Sellers

We did some research with CarEdge’s Sell Your Car offer comparison tool, and we found that EchoPark is paying too much for used cars. “Apparently, EchoPark has decided that they want to be the next Carvana,” exclaimed CarEdge Co-Founder Ray Shefska. Ray says that EchoPark may be putting themselves in a position where they’ll be buying high, and selling low. 

We got offers from multiple online car buyers, and the difference was shocking.To get a sense of the overall market conditions for online car buyers today, we requested offers for a number of vehicles in different markets in America.

For example, we found a 2016 Ram 1500 for sale by Carvana in Kansas City, and received offers from multiple online buyers, such as Cargurus and CarMax. It turns out that EchoPark is not yet in the Kansas City market (more on that in a moment).

Cargurus made the highest offer, at $23,000. That’s $9,000 less than Carvana’s current asking price of $32,000. That sounds about right, at least in today’s market. But this is where EchoPark’s growing presence in online car buying enters the scene. They’re not in every market, but where they are, they REALLY want to buy your car.

EchoPark Offers Are Through the Roof

Now, let’s take a look at EchoPark’s determination to gain inventory. Over at CarMax, we found a 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE on sale in Colorado Springs, Colorado for $33,000. CarMax is known as one of the higher-priced car sellers, since they claim to have no-haggle pricing (although you CAN negotiate your deal). For this RAV4 on sale for $33,000, EchoPark would pay $31,862 to buy it! It’s absolutely insane to see an online car buyer offering just $1,200 less than the car’s listing price. That’s yet another sign of a used car market out of whack.

EchoPark Automotive offers - CarEdge Offer Comparison

Let’s take a look at one more example. To be sure this wasn’t a Toyota fluke, we picked this 2019 Ford F-150 Lariat. CarMax is asking $43,000, but EchoPark is willing to pay $38,700 to buy it. That’s NOT normal in the used car market. This is like if you went out and bought a $500 TV, and your neighbor offers to buy it off of you days later for $475. Crazy, right? 

EchoPark Automotive offers - CarEdge Offer Comparison

What does it all mean? This is a recipe for selling at a loss. Ray put it best, “Either EchoPark is desperate for inventory and isn’t worried about losing money on used cars, or this is pure insanity!”

These instant offers from online car buyers are generated by an algorithm that is supposed to offer a compelling price for the seller, but an offer that also makes it easy for the buyer to then sell that vehicle for a profit. Clearly, either there’s something wrong with EchoPark’s algorithm, or they seriously need inventory, and are willing to pay a price for it.

Is EchoPark Automotive Legit?

Yes, EchoPark is a legit business that buys and sells used cars online. EchoPark does not sell new cars. It’s also important to point out that EchoPark Automotive does not buy and sell in all markets. To sell your car to EchoPark, you’ll need to be close to one of their Vehicle Buying Centers. Most locations are in the southern half of the country, from coast to coast. See the latest EchoPark dealership locations here

When you get an offer to sell your car to EchoPark, your offer is good for 7 days or 500 miles, whichever comes first. If you complete the deal within two days, they throw an extra $250 onto the offer.

When it comes to inventory, EchoPark mostly buys and sells 1-5 year old cars with low mileage. All of EchoPark’s cars come with a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee, similar to Carvana’s 7-day money-back guarantee, and CarMax’s 30-day money-back guarantee, as long as you’ve driven under 1,500 miles. 

Compare Offers – No Matter What

Before you sell to EchoPark Automotive, we highly recommend that you compare offers from multiple online car buyers. You’ll get offers from reputable buyers like CarGurus, CarMax and EchoPark in seconds!

CarEdge What Is My Car Worth - compare offers immediately at caredge.com/sell.

Thinking about buying from EchoPark? It’s possible that you’ll find a great deal, but it’s also possible (almost likely) that they’ll be overpricing their used car inventory to try and recoup money from overpaying for inventory.

We want to help you buy confidently. Do your due diligence and guarantee savings with the latest local car market data on CarEdge Car Search. How about premium market insights like Black Book trade-in values, negotiability score and official CarEdge recommendations for every listing? With CarEdge Data, you’ll get that and more. 

Have you sold a car to EchoPark? Perhaps you’ve bought a used car from them? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

Car Prices Are Rising; Now Is The BEST Time To Sell Your Car

Car Prices Are Rising; Now Is The BEST Time To Sell Your Car

Have you checked your Carvana offers lately? You may be in for a welcome surprise. Used car prices are trending upward in early 2023, and if you’re thinking about selling your car, now might be the time! After seven months of steady price declines, January saw a return to higher appreciation.

To test this hypothesis, we crowdsourced data from CarEdge community members like yourself to figure out just how much cash offers from Carvana, CarMax, Vroom, and others have increased.

What’s driving used car price trends, and how are wholesale markets translating to trade-in values and Carvana offers? When is the best time to sell a used car? We’ll dive into that and more.

According to the latest data from Cox Automotive, wholesale used car prices increased month-over-month in January. From December 2022 to January 2023, seasonally-adjusted used car prices at wholesale auctions rose 2.5%, but remained 12.8% lower than one year before. Only part of January’s rising car prices can be attributed to typical seasonal trends. According to Cox Automotive’s Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, the non-adjusted used car prices were up 1.5% in January, showing that factors other than seasonality are at play here. 

Black Book data shows a similar trend across the broader market. For the first time in nearly 8 months, used car prices increased at wholesale auctions. 

used car price trends February 2023
After seven months of price drops, used car prices have increased quickly in recent weeks. Source: Black Book

“The overall market moved back into positive territory last week for the first time since the middle of June of last year. The newer, 0-to-2-year-old units experienced even larger increases than the 2-to-8-year-old units that are typically featured in our report. The overall market for the younger units increased +0.12%, compared with the 2-to-8-year olds that increased +0.03%. Older model years, 8-to-16-year-old units, increased only slightly less than the newest model years, with an uptick of +0.10%.” – Black Book Market Insights – 2/14/2023

Used car depreciation is slowing down, although the extent varies from one vehicle segment to another. 

Why are car prices rising again?

Seasonal factors are increasing demand as we get closer to spring buying season, but CarEdge’s Ray Shefska thinks there’s more to the story here. “There’s a shortage of the preferred used cars: 2-6 year old cars with lower mileage. Dealers are still willing to fork over more cash at auctions for the used cars that sell quicker. They anticipate a coming shortage of inventory in the warmer months, and are willing to pay more to get cars on their lots today.”

Fears of a recession are subsiding somewhat, and that’s contributing to dealers raising their expectations for the health of the used car market this spring and summer. 

Carvana offers are rising fast

Typically, car market trends at the wholesale level take months to translate to retail prices. That’s not the case this time around. Here are some before and after comparisons of Carvana offers received by CarEdge Community in recent weeks. 

We were shocked to find that Carvana’s offer for this 2014 Toyota Camry had increased by $2,117 in just four weeks. 

Carvana offers February 2023

Carvana’s offer for this 2017 Kia K900 increased by $1,837 in about one month. 

Carvana offers February 2023

This 2017 Toyota Avalon gained $383, or about $125 per week over the past month.

Carvana offers February 2023

Ready for a real shocker? This 2015 Chevrolet Corvette gained $1,256 in just seven days.

Carvana offers February 2023

This is especially noteworthy since sporty and luxury cars have depreciated faster than any other vehicle segment in recent months. Now, they’re quickly gaining value. Thank you to our CarEdge Community for sharing these offers with us.

Even if you checked your offers from online car buyers just days ago, we recommend seeing your updated offers with CarEdge. Your car has likely gained value in the past week. Compare multiple quotes without annoying phone calls.

Sell your car soon

Your car is worth more than it will be in a few months. It’s tax season, and car buyers are about to have a chunk of cash in hand. The increased demand isn’t ubiquitous, at least not yet. Newer, mainstream brands are appreciating more than luxury cars right now. 

used car price trends this week
Luxury cars are not gaining value as quickly. They fell the hardest over the past seven months. Black Book Market Insights

Ford CEO Jim Farley told investors that Ford expects overall transaction prices to fall by about five percent. “You think about that as a combination of incentives and lower dealer margins. We’re starting to see dealer margins come down now as demand from the industry is easing a bit,” said Farley.

Interest rates remain high, and may climb further. Will the Federal Reserve continue to raise the cost of borrowing money at the next meetings in March and May? Most analysts expect at least one more 25 basis point hike in the near future. With that said, the cost of financing is likely to become an even greater burden to car shoppers in the months ahead, and that could soften the market yet again. 

If you’re considering selling or trading-in your vehicle, you’re likely to get the best deal in February and March. 

Compare offers without selling your data

The used car market has changed a lot in recent weeks. Even if you’ve recently received online offers from Carvana, Vroom, or others, you’ll want to see your car’s updated offer. It’s likely that your car’s value has risen. 

Sadly, most popular online car buyers and quote tools make money by selling your information to third parties. CarEdge will never sell your data. Get the best offer when you sell your car, WITHOUT giving your data away. Compare quotes from CarMax, CarGurus, EchoPark and others with CarEdge, and get your offers in minutes. 

Has your car’s value gone up in recent weeks? Let us know in the comments below, or join the internet’s fastest-growing automotive forum, the CarEdge Community

In the market to buy? We’re here to help you take control of your deal and save money. Whether you’re looking for some 1:1 help with negotiating thousands off your deal, or are simply ready to hand over the keys and let a pro do the negotiating on your behalf, CarEdge Car Coaches are ready to assist. We have options for every budget. Check out plans and benefits today!

The Best Time to Buy a Car Has Changed. Negotiating Is More Important Than Ever.

The Best Time to Buy a Car Has Changed. Negotiating Is More Important Than Ever.

Did you know that new car incentives are 40% higher during one particular time of the year? It’s amazing how much money you can save with a bit of knowledge that car dealers don’t want to share. At CarEdge, we strive to make car buying and ownership easier, less expensive, and simply a better experience. In this guide, we’ll go over the best time of the year for buying a car. If you’re determined to spend less on your car, we think you’ll find this information valuable.

The Best Time to Buy a Car Has Changed

As manufacturer incentives plummet, car buyers are looking for other ways to save.

Average new car transaction price (orange) versus average incentive spend as % of transaction price (blue). Source: Cox Automotive

The demand for new and used cars continues to outpace supply as automakers have a really hard time increasing production. Global supply shortages have affected car makers on every continent. However, the situation for car buyers is improving in late 2022. After almost two years of ridiculous prices, deals can finally be negotiated

The best time of the year to buy a car has changed. Pre-pandemic monthly trends may return someday (if automakers ever get back to normal inventory levels), but let’s talk about where things stand in 2022 and early 2023.

Wait a Few Months For the Best Deal

In late 2022 and early 2023, new and used car prices are dropping. This is not a normal time for car price trends. Price declines are more pronounced in the used car market, but select new models are negotiable too. 

Let’s cut to the chase:

The best time to buy a car lies in the months ahead. Deals can be negotiated today, but your leverage for lower prices will increase in December and in early 2023. 

The last week of the year is usually the best time to buy a car. Incentives and negotiation leverage improve as dealers hurry to move the last of the previous model year off of their lots. 

Let’s talk about the used car market. Wholesale price declines are finally translating to lower used car prices (more on that here). This was confirmed by the November Consumer Price Index (CPI) report that showed used car prices were down -2.4% month-to-month when seasonally adjusted. New car prices remained nearly flat at +0.4%, the smallest new car price increase in 2022. 

used car price trends in 2022
In 2022 (green), used car prices have fallen after record highs in 2021.

We track used car prices weekly. See this week’s used car price update.

New car prices are softening, despite automakers steadily raising MSRPs. Don’t expect widespread MSRP drops anytime soon. However, there lies hope in the slow return of manufacturer incentives and the demise of additional dealer markups. 

Our CarEdge Auto Experts have noted that domestic brands like GM, Ford, Chrysler most often present the best opportunity to get a deal under MSRP. 

In other words, your chances of buying a new car at or below MSRP are better now than at any time in the past 18 months. 

The longer you wait (into 2023), the more negotiation power you’ll have as the overall new car market softens. 

However, when it comes to total cost, it’s not that simple. Interest rates are rising to the highest levels in over a decade. If you wait longer to buy, there’s a real chance that the cost of financing may rise to the point where your monthly payments end up higher due to interest. Here’s the latest on car loan interest rates

Wouldn’t it be nice to finance your car with someone you trust? Finance with CarEdge! We work with trusted credit unions offering low rates and great customer service. Learn more and get pre-approved in minutes!

The average transaction price (ATP) of new cars has hovered around $48,000 for months. The latest data shows it continues to remain at that level. How could we possibly advocate for negotiating lower prices? The data shows that luxury car shoppers continue to buy, and that has been driving up the overall market average. Deals are out there, if you know where to look.

Average transaction prices for new cars, 2012-2022. Source: Cox Automotive

With market conditions always changing, we believe that knowledge is power. CarEdge’s Auto Experts are just one of the great benefits of CarEdge Membership. Learn more about our plans. How much money can you save? Read CarEdge member success stories!

Historical Norms: When Is the Best Time of the Year to Buy a Car?

Pre-pandemic data from Edmunds shows that the time around Labor Day is when most new car incentives begin, with discounts growing as the year comes to an end. Better deals continue on outgoing model years through fall and winter as new models compete with outgoing model years for space on dealer lots.

Many automakers roll out the new model year by September. If you’re okay with the outgoing model year, you have significantly more leverage to negotiate prices down. Don’t show up to the dealership expecting thousands of dollars off of the brand-new model year unless demand for new cars falls off a cliff (as it did in 2020). 

Negotiate like a PRO with this free dealership cheat sheet. Don’t buy a car without it!

Year-end car deals most often arrive as manufacturer incentives (which we keep track of every month). New car incentives were at historic lows during the worst of the chip shortage, but they’re slowly coming back as recession fears hit demand.

Here’s how current model-year savings compare with new model-year cars. Remember, these were the historic norms, and the situation in 2022-2023 has changed dramatically. 

best month to buy a car
In pre-pandemic times, this graph shows that new car incentives increased at the end of the year. This is still true, but to a lesser extent as inventory remains lower. Source: Edmunds.com via Market Watch.

Stay On Top of Market Conditions

Would you have guessed that used car prices have fallen nearly 14% at wholesale markets since last summer? Probably not, because it wasn’t until September that car prices dropped at the retail level. The car market is changing as automakers slowly come out of the semiconductor chip shortage, and consumers hold back on spending as recession fears circulate.

Here’s the bottom line: rapidly-changing car market conditions are likely to overshadow the seasonal trends that we’ve seen historically in pre-COVID times.

After 18 months of price increases, used car prices are dropping. Even if sticker prices are nearly the same, at CarEdge, we’ve had more members scoring deals under the advertised price. That’s why we think you should negotiate 5-10% off of a car purchase today. 

On the new car front, negotiation leverage depends on three main factors: 1) vehicle supply, 2) local dealer inventory and 2) demand for the specific model and trim. 

See the latest new car inventory numbers here.

For example, our CarEdge auto experts joke that everyone wants a Toyota RAV4 Prime right now. Demand is through the roof, Toyota is hardly producing any, and therefore prices for the RAV4 Prime remain insanely high. 

On the other hand, some new car models have more inventory than at any time in the past year. New car inventory isn’t on par with pre-pandemic levels, but it’s an improvement. Pair that with reduced demand, and new cars are finally becoming more negotiable. Dealer markups do exist for popular models, but you CAN negotiate pricing on new cars again.

CarEdge Car Search – Search new and used car listings with industry insights dealers don’t want you to see!

Car Buying Cheat Sheet: Former Dealer Shares How to Negotiate Car Prices Confidently

Car Buying Cheat Sheet: Former Dealer Shares How to Negotiate Car Prices Confidently

Our team of Car Coaches combines decades of experience in the automotive industry to help you, the consumer, buy a car without the hassle. That’s why we created this must-have resource for buying a new or used car at a dealership, whether in person or through the internet sales department. This car buying cheat sheet will help you negotiate car prices confidently, so you can drive away feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Thank you to CarEdge’s Ray Shefska (former dealership sales manager) and Kimberly Kline (former dealership finance manager) for putting this together for car buyers everywhere!

Don’t miss Part 2 of this series: Auto Financing Cheat Sheet!

How to Negotiate Car Prices with a Salesperson

Use this cheat sheet to negotiate the best auto loan rates on new or used cars!

The best way to learn how to negotiate car prices effectively is to prepare for the situations and conversations you’re likely to encounter with the salesperson and finance manager. Feel free to print off this cheat sheet and bring it with you! Without further ado, here’s how an informed, prepared car buyer can expertly negotiate.

Salesperson: What do you want your monthly payment to be?

You: I’m not concerned with the monthly payment, I am only focused on the total out-the-door price.

Salesperson: So you’re paying cash?

You: I haven’t determined exactly how I plan to pay for it. I am only concerned about the total out-the-door price.

Salesperson: So you have a monthly budget in mind?

You: I have a total out-the-door price in mind, so I would only like to discuss that at the present time.

Salesperson: OK, how much cash will you be putting down?

You: I haven’t decided that yet and I won’t until we establish an acceptable total out-the-door price.

Notice a trend here? You really really want to stay laser-focused on the only number that matters this early in the game: the out-the-door price. Salespeople will try hard to learn more about how much money you’re willing to spend. If that can get you to talk about monthly payments, they immediately have an advantage over you. That gives them leverage to play with higher interest rates, longer loan terms, and lower trade-in offers. None of those are good for you, the buyer.

Salesperson: What are going to do with the car that drove here, will you be trading it?

You: I haven’t decided yet. We can discuss that as a possibility after we agree to an out-the-door price.

Salesperson: Now that we have agreed to the out-the-door price, what about the car you drove here, will you be trading that in?

You: I might, it depends on whether or not you can match or beat these written offers that I have already received. 

Salesperson: Now that we have agreed to the out-the-door price and agreed to the value of your trade, what do you want your monthly payment to be?

You: I’ll only discuss that with the Finance Manager.

Salesperson: Will you be putting any cash down?

You: I’ll be more than happy to discuss all of that with the Finance Manager. If you provide me with a credit application I’ll be more than happy to fill that out for the Finance Manager.

Salesperson: The Finance Manager will be with you shortly.

How to Negotiate the Best Auto Loan Rate with the Finance Office

Use this cheat sheet to negotiate the best auto loan rates on new or used cars!

NEW in 2023: Due to popular demand, we created this additional FREE guide: Auto Financing Cheat Sheet

Finance Manager: I assume that you have given some thought to a monthly payment and loan term that will be comfortable to you.

You: I have indeed and I have also secured a pre-approval from my credit union as a possibility for my loan.

Finance Manager: Would you consider financing through us?

You: I would assuming that you can beat the pre-approved rate that I have. Here is the pre-approval terms sheet from my credit union with all the particulars.

Finance Manager: So if I beat the rate you will finance with us?

You: Yes, if you beat it by at least ¼ of a percent. And I promise to at least listen to any finance and protection packages that are available.

Finance Manager: So you are open to some of our programs?

You: Possibly, if we can agree to a reasonable selling price on any items that I think have value. Oh, and if I do buy any products I would at least expect you to give me the buy rate from the bank on my loan. Once again though, you will need to beat my credit union rate by at least ¼ of a percent for me to even consider it.

Finance Manager: Great, let’s get started.

You: I’m all ears.

Finance Manager shares the MENU with additional products.

You: But first, before we go over product benefits, where is my base payment, amount financed, term and interest rate?

Finance Manager shows them to you.

You: Is there a prepayment penalty if I finance with you?

If there is no prepayment penalty, proceed with considering their menu options.

These are products you might see on the menu, and questions to ask:

  • Vehicle Service Contract (also known as an extended warranty)
    • Are you getting a fair deal? Remember, CarEdge brings you the LOWEST prices for extended warranties. Get a free quote here!
  • GAP coverage – In the event of an accident, GAP covers the difference between what a vehicle is currently worth and the amount you actually owe on it.
    • Does this GAP coverage pay 150% and my deductible?
  • Maintenance plan – Does this plan cover the major, expensive services or is this basic oil, filter & tire rotations?
  • Electronics Warranty – Your new car IS a computer on wheels, but be wary of dealer pricing on electronics warranties.
    • CarEdge offers a low cost Electronics Warranty with all the coverage you need. Get a free quote!
  • Tire/wheel coverage – Does this also cover cosmetic damage?
  • Paintless dent repair/windshield repair – Where on the vehicle and how large can the dent/crack be? How many are covered under the policy?
  • Paint and interior coverage 
  • Key care – Is this 5 years and unlimited keys?

Finance Manager shows you payments

You: (If you don’t see actual product price) Please write the actual product price next to each one.

Finance Manager: It just changes your payment by this much.

You: I see that, but I want to see the actual price of each product to help me make a good decision. 

At this point, negotiate prices down on any products you want.

Finance Manager: OK, sign here and here and here.

You: Please print my Bank Contract and Purchase Order first so I can go over them.

Go over each line of your itemized Purchase Order and make sure the bottom line (amount financed) on both documents match!  

Free Car Buying Help Is Here

Car buying cheat sheet

Ready to outsmart the dealerships? Download your 100% free car buying cheat sheets today. From negotiating a deal to leasing a car the smart way, it’s all available for instant download. Get your cheat sheets today!

Check us out on YouTube at the CarEdge main channel and our daily Ray and Zach LIVE SHOW.

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Auto Loan Interest Rates Are Still Rising – Here’s What That Means For Car Buyers Today

Auto Loan Interest Rates Are Still Rising – Here’s What That Means For Car Buyers Today

Auto loan interest rates are rising. For most of us, when buying a new or used car, agreeing on a price is only half the work (or if you have a car to sell/trade-in, a third of the work). Are you ready to go to battle for round two? That would be negotiating a fair auto loan interest rate.

Auto loan APRs are higher than they’ve been at any point in the past decade, and they’re headed even higher. How much do rising interest rates matter for today’s new and used car buyers? We crunched the numbers to find out.

The Average Car Loan Interest Rate Is the Highest Since 2009

What do you get when you combine interest rate hikes with the likelihood of an economic recession? It becomes a whole lot more expensive to borrow money. Whether you’re in the market for a new car or a new house, lenders seem to be increasing loan rates every other day in 2022.

According to new data from Edmunds, the average car loan interest rate (APR) on a new vehicle loan rose to 5.9% in September. That’s up 44% since December 2021. The last time auto loan rates were this high was right before the crash of 2009-2010.

What’s different this time around? Cars are 71% more expensive in 2022. Back in 2009, the average new car transaction price was $28,201. Today, it’s a bit over $48,000. Buyers are paying A LOT more interest in 2022, and monthly car payments are more akin to second mortgages.

In September 2022, the average amount that new car buyers financed was $41,347. Thinking about stretching that loan term as far out as possible? That adds up to a total of $7,849 in interest paid over 72 months. Ouch!

Used Car Loan Rates Rising Most

The average used car loan interest rate has shot up to 9.2%, adding thousands to the total cost of borrowing money to buy a car.

In September 2022, the average amount that used car buyers financed was $31,366. That adds up to a total of $9,566 in interest paid over a 72-month loan term. 

What if you shop around and get pre-approved for a 7.0% APR instead of the average of 9.2%? Over 72 months, you’d SAVE a grand total of $2,429 in interest, all by simply shopping around and getting some more loan rate offers. 

You DON’T have to take the financing offer from the dealership. Learn how to negotiate auto loan rates with confidence.

The Federal Reserve Is About to Raise Rates Again

auto loan interest rates

When ‘The Fed’ meets again in early November, they’re almost certain to announce another rate hike. Whether it amounts to 75 basis points or less is of little concern. What’s certain is that auto loan rates will continue to rise in November. 

Based on our own analysis at CarEdge, we expect the average car loan interest rate to climb higher to between 6.5% (for new cars) and 10.5% (for used cars) in November. 

Remember that these are expected averages, so there will be better (and worse) auto loan offers out there. Don’t settle for your first auto loan rate offer. Shop around!

Not sure where to start? See competitive loan offers with the help of CarEdge!

How to Save Money on Auto Loan Interest, Even As Rates Rise

There are still ways to save big-time on auto loan interest. These are the biggest ways to keep more money in your pocket:

  • Shop around for the lowest interest rate. Pre-approval does impact your credit score, so it’s best to apply for all of your pre-approvals at the same time (or same week at least) right before you plan to buy the car.
  • Go for a shorter loan term! At today’s average new car loan interest rate of 5.9%, the difference between financing $35,000 with a 48-month loan and a 72-month loan is $2,267 in interest paid. That’s not pocket change!
  • Spend less, and/or put more down. It’s easier said than done, but consider borrowing less if you want to pay as little interest as possible. You could buy a less expensive car, put more money down for your down payment, or both.
  • Refinance your loan. Yes, even as interest rates are rising, if you get stuck with a bad loan, or improve your credit over time, you should consider refinancing your auto loan. Go to a local credit union so that you don’t get hit with fees from online websites.

Manufacturer Incentives: The Best Auto Loan Rates Right Now (For a Limited Time)

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