Bargain Auto Sales to Continue - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/17/02

Bargain Auto Sales to Continue

If 0% financing wasn't enough to get you to buy a new car in 2002, General Motors (GM) is wondering what will get you to buy one in 2003. The company started free financing to get America rolling after September 11th. Now it's the first to offer the same on many of next year's models. Daimler Chrysler is also following suit. But GM expects sales to ease up a bit from summer's frantic pace.

August sales figures broke records at several car-makers with gm's sales up 18% from one year ago. Ford was up 12% and Daimler Chrysler was up 24%. Low financing is one reason car sales have stayed healthy in the weak economy.

Car companies aren't really making much money as consumers get used to bargains. Efraim Levy with S&P Equity explains, "Consumers will get addicted to zero percent deals."" That may be why GM's new campaign has limits to its sales pitch. The zero percent financing is only on the more expensive three-year loans and it doesn't count for some hot new models like the new Hummer. It's a smaller, sleeker version of the original, made for women.

SUV's are expected to continue their popularity growth unless there's a major gas tax, and every car-maker seems to have an SUV model now. Jim Hall with Auto Pacific says, "One of the more interesting. cars is the Kia Sorrento because when you see it. The Lexus RX 200 is the more expensive vehicle."

The biggest item in 2003 may not be an SUV. It may be one of the jazzed up high performance models Ford is launching or it may be the updated version of the Honda Accord. Hall says,"It's a substantial move forward from where they were. The Accord is the best midsize car in the country."

So, look for the big auto-makers to offer big bargains once again in 2003 but read the fine print and see how much the original sales pitch will cost you in the long run.

For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.

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