May 11, 2006

Vehicle history reports becoming increasingly important to buyers, report says

Westlake Village, California – Vehicle history reports are becoming increasingly important to used-car buyers, says a report issued by J.D. Power and Associates. The report suggests that this may be because of last year’s hurricanes in the U.S., which may cause concern about flood-damaged vehicles appearing on the market.

The study found that 34 per cent of used-vehicle buyers report that they obtain a vehicle history report before purchasing their vehicle, up from 30 per cent in 2005. Additionally, 57 per cent say they would refuse to buy a vehicle without a report, up from 53 per cent in 2005.

Consumers are also turning to manufacturer-sponsored certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles, and typically pay an average premium of US$1,680 for them. However, the study finds that CPO vehicle buyers are less satisfied with the price paid for the vehicle, when compared to 2005, especially in light of large incentives on new vehicles.

Hybrid sales are also rising; the study found that 44 per cent of late-model used-vehicle buyers are willing to consider a pre-owned hybrid vehicle over a conventional gasoline model, even at additional cost. Major concerns with buyers are the estimated higher maintenance costs, reliability and the lifespan of the battery pack.

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