CONSIDER THIS … News Tips & Topics
Georgia consumers prefer shopping at a car dealership when in the market for a new vehicle. According to the Year-End 2014 Consumer Survey conducted by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA), nearly half of respondents shop for and purchase their vehicles at car dealerships.
According to the survey, 45.2 percent of respondents are most likely to buy a vehicle at a dealership, 17.6 percent from a private seller and 10 percent from a car-buying service. Eighteen percent of respondents said it’s the car history report that most influences their decision when it comes to a purchase, while 16.9 percent said it’s the monthly payments and 14.7 percent depend on results from a mechanical inspection.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Used Car Buying Guide suggests consumers prepare themselves for buying a used car by learning about car inspections, vehicle history reports and fees. The DMV notes online car shopping for used vehicles is quick and easy and ordering vehicle history reports can save time and money.
According to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, buyers can also save themselves a lot of time and money by researching various outlets such as automotive and consumer magazines, test driving several makes and models of vehicles and determining how much they can afford to pay based on the total cost of the vehicle — taking into account sales tax, interest rates, insurance, monthly payments and the length of the loan.
Cheryl Spires, manager and CEO of Combined Employees Credit Union in Warner Robins, Ga. said the majority of their auto applicants are seeking used auto loans.
“We are highly competitive when it comes to rates for this segment of the market,” Spires said. “Our Member Service Specialists are trained to not only look for opportunities to be the auto lender of choice for each of our members, but also in finding vehicles that meets the needs of the members and us. We see so many of members who get raw deals or get in over their heads when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, so we work to assist our members in finding a vehicle and also in the price and ancillary product negotiation process. We show them how to make smarter decisions and how they can keep more of their hard-earned money.”
Spires said Combined Employees Credit Union often has members who cannot qualify for an auto loan, so the credit union sets them up on a credit union-run bill pay service that takes payroll deductions and pays their auto payments monthly.
“This helps get them caught up, keeps them caught up and often assists in lowering loan-to-values to a point that we feel comfortable refinancing the loan or making them a new auto loan,” said Spires.
Tips to think about when purchasing a used vehicle:
- Do the Research. Research all your options by reading automotive and consumer magazines and browsing online.
- Test Drive. Try out various makes and models before making a final decision.
- Consult your financial institution. Credit unions offer lower interest rates on vehicle loans compared to banks. They can also help you determine the total cost of the vehicle and provide you with options such as gap insurance to ensure you are covered for the entire amount of the loan in case of a loss.
- To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join, visit: http://www.asmarterchoice.org/.