Will You Buy a New Car in 2012?

clunker carA recent report by the Associated Press says that car sales were pretty strong at the end of 2011 and they look to be even stronger this year.

My car

Currently, I am driving a 2004 Saturn Ion – which is a hand-me-down from my wife (she has the newer car). It runs great, gets decent gas mileage and most importantly, she's paid off.

Like most of us, I hate shelling out funds for any car repairs. But, I know I am entering that gray area with the Ion where it may begin to nickel and dime us.

I'm a believer in driving a car til it clonks out. Most of the cars I've had in the past I have bought with cash and they were near the tail end of their life. The problem with this is that you tend to visit the mechanic more often. As much as I like the guy – I'd like to stay away from him.

Lord willing, we'll have the Ion for a few more years. But you never know.

2012 may be the year folks finally have to buy new or newer

During the Great Recession, many of us chose to repair our vehicles instead of trading up to a newer car. Because of this, a lot of the auto makers suffered.

To help spur more buyers, the government instituted a fairly controversial program called “Cash for Clunkers”. You were able to off-load your used vehicle for a newer one and get some cash to help with the down-payment.

Many took advantage of the free money and got rid of their used cars. The problem was the dealer needed to scrap these vehicles and take them off the road, which in-turn may have caused a semi-shortage on used vehicles.

Many folks have done all they can to their current autos and are finally needing to buy new. So the AP report about 2012 being a banner year for sales seems very plausible.

How do you determine when to buy a new car?

This has always stumped me. Which is probably why I just drive my cars into the ground. Sometimes you just can't win and holding onto a car too long can put a real dent into you wallet.

So, how do you decide when to buy a new/er car?

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  1. Of our most recent three car purchases, two were motivated by increasing family size (we needed more seatbelts) and one was to replace a totaled vehicle. We tend to drive our vehicles as long as possible to save money. We have also never had a personal car loan. We currently own a Honda Odyssey (older model) and a Toyota Sequoia. We paid cash, after saving up, for both of them.

    • Way to go in paying with cash for two cars!

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