There really aren’t many feelings that can compete with signing the final pages of paperwork, getting the keys, and driving home in your brand new car. The way the paint shines, the way the interior smells, the double (or maybe even single) digits on the odometer — this car just rolled out of the factory a few weeks ago, and now it’s all yours. Then, a month later, the first payment is due. You’ll need to change the oil — and the tires. And with each passing month and mile, the honeymoon period fades until your car isn’t new anymore. It’s just a car.
For the past six years, Americans have bought more new cars than ever, besting each previous year by a considerable margin. But the market is cooling in 2017. Those six years’ worth of record-setting cars are flooding the used market, which means there are more high-quality pre-owned models on sale. Car buyers might also be realizing once that initial rush wears off, new cars are, well, kind of a rip-off. As much as automakers want you to line up to buy the latest and greatest, here’s why it’s a bad idea to put your hard-earned cash down on a brand new car.
1. Leasing is more attractive …
In 2016, a record 17.6 million new cars left dealership lots. While trucks, crossovers, and SUVs led the sales pack, the real story was the increase in leasing. As long as you stay within the terms of your lease, it’s not a bad option. You have a new car for two to three years (while it’s still covered under factory warranty). Then, you turn it in and get something new.
Sure, there are downsides, such as having to put down a chunk of cash for a car that’s not really yours and mileage limitations. But if you’re dead set on a new car, more Americans than ever are deciding leasing is their best bet.
Next: But what happens when the lease is up?