Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Deals

RECOMMENDED READING


If you're looking for a car, love snow. Love ice. Delight in shivering.

Used car prices tend to dip when the weather is cold, and deals are best in winter.

Hate hurricanes. Hurricane Sandy may have put a halt, perhaps temporarily, to what had been a nice decline in used car prices.

All that adds up to a mixed bag to those needing wheels. You'll get a better deal on a used car today than had you shopped a few months ago. But if you can wait a little longer, the deal might look a little sweeter.

The Great Recession had a perverse effect on the used car market — it pushed prices up. Fewer people buying new cars meant fewer nice used cars showing up on the car lots, and higher prices.

Prices last year hit "the highest levels ever seen," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

Prices began to ease this spring. The average U.S. wholesale price of a used car at auction shrank from $9,922 in March to $8,683 in September, according to ADESA Analytics. They kept shrinking through mid-October. Then came warnings about Hurricane Sandy, and by October's end prices were at $8,803.

Prices rose in anticipation that soggy Easterners would soon be replacing swamped cars.

Prices on used car lots reflect the wholesale auctions. Gutierrez is betting that the Sandy effect will fade and prices will be down by an additional 1 or 2 percent over the winter. "We're not expecting prices to fall off a cliff," he said.

Part of the decline is seasonal; prices tend to fall in the cold months and rise in spring, when shoppers leave hibernation. It also reflects more nice used cars coming on the market as new car sales rise, producing trade-ins.

Then there's a flock of former lease cars expected to hit the used car market in 2013, reflecting a rise in auto leases three years ago. All of that should push down used car prices next year.

Shoppers usually do better buying low-mileage used cars instead of new ones. That new car smell just isn't worth the rapid loss in value when a new car leaves the lot.

But that may no longer be true for little gas-sippers, says Jesse Toprak, analyst at TrueCar.com, an online car buying site. Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas and the like are commanding high prices used — so high that new models may be the better deal, considering low-cost financing, other sales incentives and new-car warranties.

December is usually a good month for making a deal on a new car. A few of last year's models are still aging on the lot. Sales are slow because people are busy with Christmas, and dealers feel some pressure to get sales numbers up before New Year's.

"That's changing a little bit, especially this year," Toprak said.

New passenger car sales are up 19 percent this year, although they're still below prerecession levels. SUVs and crossovers are up 8 percent. As a result, makers and dealers have lost much of the desperation that drove big incentives a couple of years ago.

Manufacturers' incentives are stingier now, said Toprak, and they tilt more toward cheap loans and lease deals. There are plenty of cash-back discounts around, but they're not as sweet as they used to be..

Comments

Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

TAMPA — Avery, 6, slid his sneakers up the side of 200-pound rubber tire from the space shuttle Columbia and sat on top.His father, Ilder Jeannot, called for him to get off of it — usually climbing on museum displays is frowned upon. But in the new M...
Published: 11/18/17
Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Like so many small businesses, Saturday will represent a special day for Paper Seahorse owner Tona Bell. Bell’s cozy bungalow business at 211 S Howard features paper and stationery, specialty pens, vintage typewriters and crafts classes. It will offe...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17