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  So You Are Ready For A New Car?

Every November I think about new cars. Most people don’t get the new car bug until April or May but the reality is that the new model year starts in November and you won’t see any real discounts on current year models until the end of July. So why not drive a new car for six months rather then let it just sit on the lot. Manufactures know people like new cars for summer fun and vacations so they don’t start the model year in the spring when sales are strong anyway. Although once you own your new car and you are driving it, putting miles, wear and tear on the car the fact remains that the age of the car determined by model year has more of an impact on trade in value then actual car usage. For this reason, it seems to me that the best time to buy a new car is at the beginning of the model year in the fall.

Deciding to buy a new car is only the beginning; you want to get the right car, at the right price, with the right deal. The first thing to consider is the cost of ownership. There are five major components to vehicle ownership, depreciation, insurance, fuel, maintenance, and interest.

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Of these five, insurance and fuel are the closest to being fixed costs, if you drive 15,000 miles a year you will probably have a fuel cost of about $1,700 and an insurance cost of about $1,200. It is smart to check both the insurance cost and the reported fuel economy before buying any new vehicle to avoid the surprise that comes with that handful of out lying vehicles. Maintenance cost usually starts small for new vehicles and then increases with age. If you have always driven small, relatively new Japanese cars and then opt for a vintage Italian exotic you could find yourself spending as much in maintenance per month that you use to spend per year. Depreciation is the difference between what you pay for a car new and what you get for it when you trade it in or sell it. A fair way to calculate depreciation is to take the number of years you plan on owning a car and divide the difference between what you plan to pay for the car and what you believe it will fetch when you get rid of it. The longer you plan on owning a car the less depreciation you should experience per year of ownership. Some models will lose 75% of their value in the first five years, while others lose as little as 35%. What the manufacturer does to sell cars influence these percentages.

When GM gives a $5,000 rebate on new cars along will 0% financing this hurts the resell value of GM vehicles sold in the past. This is because; who would buy a used car for the same price as a new one? When it comes to the overall deal, the finance % rate is as important as the price you pay for the vehicle unless it is an all cash deal.  This is because on a $30,000 car each percentage point equals about a $1,000, in the car is financed over a period of 5 years.
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