Ally Financial Finds Nearly 70% of Americans Would Buy a Used Car

By Mia Bevacqua

These days, the average price of a new car is over $37,000, compared to just over $20,000 for a used car. With such a discrepancy, it comes as no surprise more and more consumers are open to purchasing a pre-owned vehicle.

Ally Financial found nearly 70% of Americans (69%) would consider buying a used car. To come up with that figure, the Harris Poll (on behalf of Ally Financial) conducted an online survey of more than 2,000 adults.

Also, Ally Financial looked into where consumers would feel the most comfortable purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. Approximately 53% of respondents said they would prefer to buy from a dealership that sells both new and used cars. That figure was much higher than the other categories, which included private parties, used car lots and internet-based companies.

“While there’s a lot of hype around internet auto sales within the industry, the majority of consumers are most comfortable purchasing at a franchise dealer who is part of the community and where they can ask questions,” said Matthew Arnold, senior regional vice president of Auto Finance at Ally Financial. “The challenge is for car buyers to feel more confident about their shopping experience and purchase, and the internet is a great resource for consumers before visiting a dealership.”

Naturally, when it comes to buying used, consumers are most concerned about reliability and potential repairs. That’s why, when selecting a used car over a new car, 40% of buyers consider higher-quality an important attribute. Other traits shoppers look for include certification (either by the dealer or factory), a detailed maintenance history and a vehicle service contract that extends the OEM warranty.

And what about individuals who already own a used car? Approximately 61% said that they bought a pre-owned vehicle because it was less expensive than buying new.

“With new vehicle prices approaching $38,000, it’s a good time to have a refreshed look at used vehicles,” Arnold said. “Vehicle quality from the factory has greatly improved in recent years and that is carrying over to the used vehicle market.

On the other hand, the greatest percentage (38%) of new car drivers cited being the first owner as their primary reason for buying new. That proves many consumers still love that new car smell.