New car buying trends are changing

February 27, 2014 12:00 AM

While new cars often require a higher upfront investment than used ones, there are many advantages to purchasing them. For one, you don't have to stress about auto repair or tune ups right away as you would with used vehicles, or worry about hidden problems under the hood that come with age. You can also rest assured that a new vehicle will typically have a longer lifespan. So it's no surprise that while used cars are a budget-friendly alternative, new car sales remain strong. In fact, a Kelley Blue Book forecast revealed that new vehicle sales will hit a total of 1.19 million units by the end of February, and despite the fact that this figure is down 0.2 percent from this month last year, sales are still up an impressive 17.8 percent from January 2014.

Crossovers on the rise and mid-size on the decline
So which new models are going to be the most popular? According to Kelley Blue Book's report, Chrysler's sales will stay strong, particularly with Jeep and Ram vehicles. In January of this year, sales of Jeep products were up 38 percent while Ram sales increased 24 percent. The new Jeep Cherokee continues to be especially attractive, pushing more than 10,000 units in its first three months on the market. Additionally, Kelley Blue Book noted that Nissan is going to be a major player going forward. Even though the mid-size car segment average was down 15 percent in January, the Altima's sales were up by 5 percent. Meanwhile, sales for the compact crossover segment only rose 13 percent, but they increased by a whopping 55 percent for the all-new Rogue. Kelley Blue Book expects that compact crossovers will continue to surpass other industry segments, due in part to recently redesigned models like the Subaru Forrester and Toyota RAV4. Conversely, Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, noted that consumer interest in mid-size cars will continue to drop, though the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and 2015 Chrysler 200 may help to strengthen the segment.

More research, less footwork
Regardless of which model motorists are drawn to, there's one trend that seems to be affecting how they go about purchasing a new car. According to CNBC News, a new McKinsey report revealed that the average person only visits 1.6 auto dealerships when buying a new vehicle, which is a significant decrease from a decade ago, when shoppers went to an average of five dealerships. Why the dramatic change? After observing auto buying patterns around the world, McKinsey asserted that consumers are using the wealth of information on the Internet to inform their decisions so that they don't have to spend as much time weighing their options in dealerships.

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