Let’s be real here. Houses are not an asset anymore. That bubble burst. In today’s world, your single most important asset and tool is your vehicle. It’s the one constant you must have in your life. The average American household is driving a 3 ½ year-old car that is near or already out of factory warranty, depending on how miles are on it.
Odds are these cars out there are ticking bombs for out-of-warranty car repairs, or major servicing (i.e. air conditioning, breaks, tires, batteries, and more). All the money-out to keep the car running, but the cars trade-in value stays the same, even after doing the repairs and or maintenance. That car payment is still there regardless of what repairs you get hit with– it doesn’t go away. Additionally, your more than likely have a large payment, at higher interest rate loan from when it was purchased. Now we know that a monthly payment is going to be there, regardless of what you do. However, cars start to break down at the 3-4 year mark, so there are upcoming (more than likely non-warranty) repairs that are hovering overhead like a financial ‘time-bomb’, ready to be dropped at the least opportune time.
With all that how is your car an asset? And why a new car, and how can it be an asset? A new car, as a fact, is the perfect “asset” to your life. The new car will most likely get better mileage (saves you on gas). They have longer warranties so you avoid major repair bills (a transmission replacement alone today is over $4,000), they offer the lowest loan interest rates in history. They are safer – much safer than your current car. There are more choices of cars (gasoline or hybrid) that you can buy – some with a government bonus.
Here’s the clincher. Your trade-in is worth way more than you think it is. Why? The used car market in this recession is “starving” for used cars. Dealers can re-sell these as “Certified Pre-Owned” which makes your used car highly desirable –so – they pay more for it. Much more. You can’t afford to fix your old used car, but they can. They want to, so they can certify your used car as “Certified Pre-Owned” and sell it at a cost higher than they bought it. In fact they make more money on this car than the new car “FACT” . Now instead of your trade-in being a liability, it has now become an asset to trade in. We are in a used-car “bubble”, much like the real-estate bubble. Your current vehicle’s “book” value is 30-35% higher than ever before. We have never seen this before, ever, the dealers are begging for trade-in’s to resell. My dad, always told me to buy a used car, well he was right then but wrong now.
The tide has turned – in your favor. Now for 1st time YOU ARE IN CONTROL. You know the dealer needs your trade-in to sell to the guy who doesn’t listen to me. For the first time, you are now the one in total control of all aspects of the transaction. Dealers will virtually give away their new vehicle – at their cost – to get that valuable trade-in of yours. This is the most perfect time in automotive history to buy a new vehicle.
OK, so what about payments? Let’s face it, when buying a car; you are buying three things – #1 a warranty, #2 a lower payment at a lower interest rate (lowest in history) and #3 better gas mileage. You are also of course buying reliability and no monetary outlay for repairs. When you trade your current car for a new one, you are simply trading or “swapping” monthly payments. You think the new car will cost you more each month? – think again. With the combination of what your trade-in is presently worth, factory rebates and factory financing programs, and the dealer selling the new car at their cost, you will likely have the same, or less monthly payment. People are also on a downsizing trend. Smaller cars have smaller price tags.
You may think “my credit isn’t that good”. It doesn’t matter. If you have a job, and you are making your car payments, the automobile manufacturers financing arms will find a way to finance you on a new car. They must sell new cars.
Now here is the best one, What if your present vehicle has had a multitude of warranty repairs? Then you use your state’s “lemon law” as a stimulus package! This can yield a substantial cash payout and you keep the car to use as a trade-in after the lemon law case is over. Or, if it qualifies for lemon law repurchase, the manufacturer buys it back, and you get out of the vehicle, the loan is paid off, and you get your money returned to you. Then it’s time to go get that new car!
Think about it. You need your car. It’s not only important, it’s a necessity. You’re current car is your “ticket to ride/ticket to drive” a new car as it’s worth so much on a trade-in.
One in five jobs in American are directly or indirectly related to the automobile business. You, as an American, have the ability to turn the economy around by taking one simple and important step for yourself – and your country’s economy – by buying a new car. Our government isn’t going to fix the economy – you are. Car-by-car. It’s a “grass-roots” effort that us American’s can participate in. Want more jobs? Buy new cars. The automobile business creates jobs.
The one and only real question is “what are you waiting for”. This used-car trade-in “bubble”, low interest rates and all the other factors are not going to be here forever. Take advantage of the situation. Start saving money on gas. Get rid of unexpected car repairs you really can’t afford. Get a safer car. Get a lower interest rate. Get what you are entitled to and need – a new car. Not tomorrow. Not next week. NOW.
Randy Sottile is a noted California lemon law auto expert and has been featured on ABC news, local radio and television.
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