As we come close to the end of 2013, the used car industry is expected to finish the year with 15.5 billion sales in the United States. This figure is forecast to grow by a little more than one million sales in 2014, which will mark a return to sales levels last seen in 2006. The U.S., however, is hardly alone in this used car sales boom.
According to auto industry observers and economists, the longevity of cars these days continues to attract buyers towards the pre-owned vehicle segment. The optimal age for a vehicle to start making the rounds at used car lots in the U.S. is currently at 11.4 years. With this in mind, 2014 could actually attract even more used car buyers should economic conditions improve and vehicle owners feel inspired to upgrade to new models.
Tech-savvy used car shoppers in the U.S. are not limiting their research to their desktop computers at home or at work. They now have free mobile apps such as Vinny 2.0, which lets them hit the used car lots and comparison shop while getting information on fair market values. All they have to do is look for the vehicle identification number (VIN) and scan the barcode with their iPhones, iPads or Android-powered devices and they can get market values based on sales data from comparables in the area.
Used car shoppers in Australia, Canada and Venezuela are also enjoying a boom in pre-owned vehicle sales, and technology is also playing a part in these countries:
Used Cars Down Under
In major Australian cities such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sidney, demand for pre-owned vehicles is heating up. Australian car shoppers are flocking to the Internet in search of deals on previously owned quality brands such as the Holden Commodore, a General Motors subsidiary, and Renault from France. Since the car manufacturing industry in Australia is currently struggling to remain relevant, auto dealers are welcoming this interest in used cars.
Strong Demand in Canada Prompts Fraud
Canadian used car shoppers are also researching their potential purchases online, and some of them are unfortunately falling victim to nefarious schemes concocted in the U.S. The scam apparently involves a fake online classified listing for a used car being sold in a major city such as Ottawa. The shoppers dial a Canadian telephone number, but the call is surreptitiously transferred to a city such as Arizona. At this point, the scammer in the U.S. will try to convince the Canadian caller to wire thousands of dollars as a deposit. Consumer protection officials in the Ontario province are currently investigating this alleged fraud.
In Venezuela, Used Cars Are the Only Game in Town
Another country experiencing strong demand for used cars is Venezuela. This oil-rich South American nation is known for its shortages of consumer products, including new cars. This is a country where cars actually appreciate instead of losing value, and there are not too many new cars to go around. Naturally, car buyers are looking at pre-owned vehicles as their only option, which is the reason behind exorbitant prices in Venezuela. Consumer protection agencies are urging the government to step in with price controls to avoid unpleasant market realities such as price gouging and usury. In the meantime, some Venezuelans are willing to wait more than a year to get behind the wheel.