New cars better deal than used?

Kelley Blue Book says yes


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Conventional wisdom is that buying a used car will save thousands of dollars compared to getting a new one. But Kelley Blue Book says in this market, new cars may be a better deal.

In the last couple of years, prices have risen for used cars, which means consumers can get a new car for about the same amount of money they would for a used car.

Two years of rising used car prices have shrunk the differential between the cost of a new car and a similar 1-year-old vehicle to a well-below-average 11.5 percent, according to Kelley Blue Book. The difference is even slighter for subcompacts and compacts, and hybrids and midsize crossovers.

"We found more of our customers who originally walked in looking for a pre-owned vehicle can, a lot of times, walk out with a brand new vehicle at the same payment or pretty darn close, depending on situation," said Anderson Premdas, a used car director at Keith Pierson Toyota.

Car salesmen say used cars, trucks and vans all rose in price because there weren't a lot of used cars available, but they were in high demand. Salesmen at Keith Pierson Toyota say a lot of people are discouraged to even look at a new car because they come in with a mindset used cars are more affordable.

"If it does make better sense for someone to look toward something brand new," Premdas said, "a lot of times people want something brand new but think they can't afford it, and by the time we lay out the mathematics of it all, it works out best for them."

Dealers say when car buyers looking at a car go in with an open mind for new or used vehicles, they say they're going to get them the best deal possible.