(Long Island, NY) After slightly lagging behind new car sales in 2012, the used car marketplace is reporting strong gains in early 2013 and promising forecasts for the rest of the year. Americans are exercising caution with regard to their economic prospects and financial solvency, and to this end they are looking at used cars as a sensible option at a time when low wages and unemployment are still major concerns.
More than 40 million used vehicles were sold in the United States in 2012, an increase of 4.4 percent over the previous year. CNW Research, a firm dedicated to tracking vehicle sales in the U.S., estimates that used car sales during the first month of 2013 were already four percent higher in a year-over-year basis, and current forecasts indicate that previously-owned vehicles will once again be in the minds of American car shoppers for the rest of the year.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates the average age of cars currently driving on U.S. roads at 11 years. This is considerably higher than in 1995, when that average was 8.4 years. Total new and used car sales posted a 5-year record in 2012, but it is important to remember that car dealers are still trying to deal with the overall dearth of auto sales experienced back in 2009 when less than 10.5 million cars were sold during the worst period of the Great Recession.
One of the best-selling used vehicles in 2012 is bound to have a repeat performance in 2013 thanks to the rebound of the housing market. The Ford F-Series line of pick-up trucks were the most widely sold used vehicles in 2012, and many car shoppers who acquired them work in the residential construction and improvement industry. Vehicles made by Japanese automaker Suzuki are also expected to be in demand in the next few months due to their imminent exit from the American market.
Compact sedans and economy passenger vehicles are also doing quite well among used car shoppers. To this end, the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and the Honda Accord clearly lead the way. These cars are highly sought-after by used car buyers due to their reliability and adequate performance even after tens of thousands of miles. In many parts of the U.S., American drivers are getting used to the sight of Toyota and Honda passenger vehicle models from the early years of the 21st century.
Used car shoppers in the U.S. have traditionally looked for low-mileage certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles, but those are running low at the moment due to the ongoing trend of keeping their cars longer. High demand for used CPO deals is expected in 2013, and those cars will probably spend a little longer on the driveway since Americans are actually driving less these days.
In some parts of the country, used car sales are displacing new vehicles. A Ford dealer in Michigan is doubling its used car operations and building new lots to accommodate shoppers. Vehicle owners are also becoming savvier in terms of maintenance, and many are forging a partnership with their neighborhood auto shops to keep their cars optimally running longer.