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Car Deals Save Students From Passenger Side

(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES – Before students can worry about parking availability or costs, they must first contend with car salesmen.

Comparing deals and researching models can be difficult, but there are ways to save money without driving a Lemon Law refund candidate.

The average sale price for a new car in 2000 was $21,850, while used cars were going at an average price of $8,715, according to the latest numbers from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

But while used cars are cheaper, they could end up being costly in the long run. Used cars will typically require more maintenance sooner than a new car.

The interest rates on used cars offered by dealers are often higher and do not include the rebates that are typically offered when purchasing a new car. The interest rates for a used car loan are typically 1 to 2 percentage points higher than for a new car.

There are many different factors to consider in determining how much it costs to maintain a car, and ConsumerReports.com and Cars.com can provide information about specific models’ ownership costs over five years, including depreciation, financing, insurance, state fees, fuel and maintenance.

For students looking for a reliable used car, the certified preowned option may be the way to go. Many auto manufacturers, such as Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury division, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, now offer enhanced certified preowned plans with comprehensive warranties, according to Cars.com.

Sanders Patton, a sophomore majoring in theatre, took advantage of BMW’s new certified preowned leasing program.

“I got more car for my money,” Patton said.

According to Cars.com, dealerships also have “demo” cars with mileage less than 10,000 miles used for test drives, demonstrations or transportation during special events. These cars include the original factory warranty and can save buyers thousands of dollars in many cases.

Best-selling vehicles will also make reliable used cars. Besides being dependable, there are more out there to be resold, which means a wider selection of styles to choose from. The 10 best-selling vehicles of 2001 are Ford F-Series pickup, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Explorer, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Dodge Ram pickup, Honda Civic, Ford Ranger and Ford Focus, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Students should research before buying a car. Some helpful consumer resources are Consumer Reports and Edmund’s Used Cars Prices and Ratings, which both compare the safety, reliability and price performance of different models.

CarFax.com provides the history of a used car when someone submits the vehicle identification number. According to the Web site, the report will detail any flood damage, odometer rollbacks, lemon histories, junked titles, state emissions inspection results, or use in a lease or rental program.

Recently, dealerships have added “young buyer” incentives to make new cars more attractive to college students through rebates and low financing rates. Felix Cadillac just finished a program for the 2002 model year that included zero percent financing for up to 60 months or a $3,000 rebate on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

“It created a lot of activity,” sales manager Mario Perez said.

Late September, the end of the model year, is also a good time to find deals on new cars, when dealers are trying to make room for the incoming models.

The bottom line is there are drawbacks to new and used cars. To make the decision, students must carefully consider their budget, driving habits and personal needs. Considering these factors along with research ahead of time saves money when it comes time to buy.

Copyright ©2003 Daily Trojan via U-Wire

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