ATLANTA -- Research conducted by and Morpace at the end of 2011 showed that 60 percent of new-car shoppers are now more likely to consider certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles due to the state of the economy. Twenty-nine percent of new-car shoppers — or half of those considering — are open to CPO for the first time.

According to analysts, this influx of shoppers who have widened the types of vehicles they are considering is a contributing factor to the recent spike in CPO sales, which posted a 7.7 percent increase in units sold from March 2011 to March 2012 — breaking the 170,000 mark for the first time. The total number of CPO sales in March was 174,471, which was also 16.9 percent higher than the month prior.

"Time and again, our research has shown that economic conditions over the last few years have caused numerous shifts in consumer shopping behavior — from when they plan to purchase to the types of vehicles they are considering," said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at "In many ways, CPO vehicles present a balanced set of benefits for car shoppers, offering a lower price point than a new car but with a better warranty and more peace of mind than a used car."

Warranty coverage was cited as the top two reasons new-car shoppers would consider a CPO vehicle, with 68 percent indicating that the certification/warranty gave them added peace of mind and 52 percent citing the fact that the warranty would be better than what they would receive on a used vehicle.

That added peace of mind, however, does come at a premium, but one that the majority of new-car shoppers appear willing to pay. In the study, 67 percent of new-car shoppers indicated that they would be willing to pay more for a CPO vehicle compared to a used, non-certified vehicle. The average premium they were will to pay was $1,380.

Below is a list of the Top 10 most-viewed CPO vehicles on in March:

  1. BMW 3 Series
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  4. Honda Civic
  5. Ford F-150
  6. Volkswagen Jetta
  7. Toyota Tacoma
  8. Audi A4
  9. Toyota Camry
  10. Toyota Tundra

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