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Some late-model, used-vehicle shoppers switch from new cars, survey says

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Some late-model, used-vehicle shoppers switch from new cars, survey says

Arlena Sawyers

Automotive News -- October 29, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

Internet shopping by buyers of late-model used vehicles increased significantly in 2010, an indication that at least some new-vehicle intenders opted to buy a used vehicle instead of a new one.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Used-Vehicle Market Report released Thursdaytoday, found that 68 percent of shoppers looking for 2005-10 model used vehicles rely on the Internet to find them, up from 63 percent in 2009, says Arianne Walker, director of automotive research at J.D. Power.

That 5 percentage point jump, coupled with responses to a question about why respondents chose a used vehicle instead of a new one, indicates that some traditional new-vehicle buyers are switching to used cars and trucks.

“It is a reflection, in part, of the economy,” Walker says. “People felt they could get the same value and same quality for less cost, and more options and features” for their money.

The report also reveals that use of online classifieds is steadily growing among all shoppers of used vehicles, increasing to 51 percent this year. That is up from 46 percent in 2009 and 40 percent in 2008.

Among the used-vehicle shoppers who use the Internet, third-party sites are visited more than dealership sites. Two-thirds of those shoppers perceive independent third-party sites to be the most useful sites during the shopping process.

Walker says that is because consumers are looking for information such as inventory, pricing and vehicle reviews, which generally are not available on dealer and manufacturer sites.

Although Walker would not disclose which third-party site generates the most traffic, she says shoppers look at sites such as AutoTrader.com, eBay Motors and CarMax.com for inventory information. Many shoppers cited Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com for price comparisons and Edmunds.com for vehicle reviews, she says.

The report is based on a survey of 10,705 buyers of 2005-10 model used vehicles. The survey was conducted from June to August 2010.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101029/RETAIL07/101029837/1401#ixzz13nPbMQBA

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