Kelley Predicts High End of Year Sales, Inventory Comebacks, and Average Purchases Under Buyer Max Prices

Even as American dealers are winding down from big Labor Day sales, the Kelley Blue Book company is suggesting that consumers are already preparing to take advantage of year-end sales events as 2011 winds down. KBB is predicting a strong fourth-quarter, saying inventory will improve through the end of the year. Reports of lower inventory, especially for Japanese vehicles, slowed summer sales, but many expect sales to rebound in future quarters.

Along with their predictions for the end of the year, Kelley Blue Book also includes more consumer information in their “Market Intelligence Consumer Sentiment Survey” – in a September 14 announcement, the company shows their compiled numbers on what new and used car buyers are planning. Kelley believes the majority of today’s car shoppers have already decided on what size car they will buy and have set a maximum price for their purchase. These maximum prices, measurements of what the average new or used car shopper is actually willing to pay, provide an interesting window into the current car market in America. Kelley sets the average price range for a new car shopper at just over $28,000, while the company suggests that used car buyers will pay up to around $11,400. The report contrasts this with what the research indicates buyers will pay on average: Kelley’s blue book pricing data leads staffers to estimate new car customers will pay an average of $26,500, with used car buyers paying around $8300.

In addition to picking out their desired brands and segments, Kelley says that about 40% of today’s shoppers already know what features they want in their new vehicle. One of the prime things Kelley says consumers are looking for is fuel efficiency. With insecurities about gas prices stuck in the minds of many Americans, mpg figures are going to be a major deciding factor in many sales. Kelley also mentions power amenities, cruise control and advanced safety features as other items that many potential dealership customers have already decided that they want. We’re assuming the same can also be said for in-dash navigation, stereo systems and iPod features and other conveniences.

Even though Kelley suggests most buyers will pay less than their maximum price for a new or used vehicle, it’s still necessary to negotiate well with your dealership to make sure that you don’t end up paying well over MSRP or shelling out more than you wanted to for your next vehicle. Take advantage of current pricing and financing offers to keep your purchase within your desired price range.