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Car Shoppers Holding Out for Year-End Deals, Says

September 15, 2011

IRVINE, Calif. — The latest reading form Kelley Blue Book’s ongoing consumer sentiment survey shows that 62 percent of new- and used-car shoppers will be ready to buy within the next three months, a stat that further backs what KBB analysts have been predicting — that the industry will realize a strong fourth quarter.

The vehicle information site believes that when carmakers will roll out attractive cash incentives an lease offerings. It’s also when production for vehicle makers impacted by the March 11 earthquake is expected to be at 100 percent capacity. Dealers also are expected to respond with big year-end sales events.

"Consumers seem to know what they want. It is just a matter of finding it in the current marketplace," said Camryn Craig, research analyst for Kelley Blue Book's "Inventory levels improved in September and are expected to continue improving through the end of the year."

According to KBB’s Market Intelligence Consumer Sentiment survey, 42 percent of shoppers who have visited a dealership said they had a difficult time finding the vehicle they want. About 40 percent indicated that the small selection in vehicles is what’s holding back their purchase, while 28 percent said they held off on their purchase because they could not negotiate an acceptable price.

Additionally, in-market car shoppers were more likely to have decided on the segment (55 percent) and price (54 percent) of their next vehicle they plan to purchase or lease, the report revealed. Among those who have decided on a price, $28,297 seemed to be a target amount they’re willing to pay, while used-car shoppers are prepared to pay, on average, $11,415, according to the survey.

Kelley Blue Book data shows that the average new car actually sells for $26,493, which is $1,804 less than what new-car shoppers reported they are willing to pay. Used cars sell for $8,327 on average, a $3,088 difference from what consumers reported they are willing to pay for a used car.

Additionally, 43 percent of consumers have decided what brand of vehicle they plan to purchase or lease. Forty-one percent of respondents say they’ve identified what features they want in their next vehicle. The survey also showed that consumers are willing to spend additional money to have features like fuel efficiency, advanced safety features, power windows and locks and cruise control.

The latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence survey about consumer sentiment and gas prices was fielded to 644 in-market new- and used-car shoppers on from August 4-19, 2011.

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