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Family Car Advice: What If You Have To Buy Now? Page 2


Shop for any remaining incentives

Check sites such as TrueCar, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book to learn what makes and models have remaining incentives. If an automaker is looking to clear out 2011 models in preparation for 2012s, there very well could be an incentive to get consumers interested. According to TrueCar, the top 2011 makes with the greatest discounts in May are Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, GMC and Suzuki.

Sure, what’s being offered probably will be a lot less than it was just one or two months ago, but if you need to buy now, you may as well get the best deal you can.

Buy what’s not hot

This seems like it’s counter-intuitive, to be sure. After all, you’re looking to buy a car you want and, seemingly, other people want as well. It could be the kind of vehicle you typically buy or one that you’ve had your eye on. But now may not be the time to go to all that expense – particularly if there aren’t any deals, the prices have increased, and the supply is short. Sort of the triple whammy, but this makes checking out less-than-flying-off-the-lot choices more attractive.

Go bigger

Recent high gas prices caused a surge in consumers purchasing more fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars, clean-diesel cars and hybrids. This may go against the grain to suggest, but you might want to get into a larger vehicle than you currently own. Maybe a GMC Yukon full-size SUV or Chevrolet Impala large sedan, even a Ford F-150 pickup truck, is a better deal than a compact or mid-size vehicle.

Yes, you’ll shell out a bit more for gas, but with the gap between prices shrinking you may wind up having about the same overall outlay.

Know any little old lady?

How well you know your neighbors might come in handy here. Maybe they're selling a car for an older relative. Maybe it’s a two-car family and only one drives now, or they don’t want the expense and upkeep of a second car they rarely use. Although the car may be (and probably is) an older model, as long as you have it thoroughly checked out by a professional mechanic, it could be a deal.

Again, this isn’t an optimum solution, but it could be considered a temporary one – at least until the market for new cars (or the used one you really want) improves.


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