Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CAR COMPETITION: Used car lots say finding inventory is a challenge

Iowans looking to spend less on a vehicle may consider choosing used over new. But lately used car aren't offering consumer the savings they have in the past. Analysts say the supply of used cars on the market is down for several reasons. The economic recession prompted people to hold on to cars longer. When drivers did trade them in, it was part of the federal government's Cash for Clunkers Program. The program required people to buy new cars and dealers to destroy the so-called clunkers. Now used car dealers say finding quality inventory to sell has never been more difficult.

"There are not very many used cars out there. So the prices are up right now, and I see them staying up through tax season," said Rob Maser, the Pre-Owned Sales Manager at Des Moines Imports.

The most recent numbers from October show wholesale used car prices were about 12.7% higher than October of 2008, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. But there are signs of improvement. Prices are down 0.9% from a record-high in September.

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