Is the Japanese Earthquake Affecting New and Used Car Shoppers Yet? Edmunds.com Provides Answers, Guidance and Surprising News about the Toyota Prius

Is the Japanese Earthquake Affecting New and Used Car Shoppers Yet? Edmunds.com Provides Answers, Guidance and Surprising News about the Toyota Prius


Is the Japanese Earthquake Affecting New and Used Car Shoppers Yet? Edmunds.com Provides Answers, Guidance and Surprising News about the Toyota Prius

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — April 13, 2011 — With automakers announcing more pauses in new car production, Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, is offering a glimpse at what consumers and dealers can anticipate over the next several months before automakers return to full production, which is expected in the fall.

Edmunds.com reports that currently, dealer inventories are still ample for most models, but inventory will start to be noticeably limited next month and automakers will react by adjusting incentives on the models in short supply. This phenomenon has already come into play for Los Angeles-area Toyota dealers, where the RAV4 is still available at 0% financing or with $500 cash back. Incentive programs for the Japanese-produced Highlander, however, have been dropped completely.

"There may be some good deals available to car buyers this summer but they might not necessarily be available on their first or second choice of vehicles," said Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl. "It looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride on dealer lots through the next few months, so if you know you need a new vehicle this summer, Edmunds.com suggests buying right now."

Consumers who have a less immediate need for a new car may find a more stable environment waiting for them in the fall. Manufacturers are expected to regain lost ground in September and October by temporarily increasing production of their 2012 model year vehicles. Not only should these vehicles be in good supply, says, Edmunds.com, but consumers can expect generous incentives as manufacturers fight for market share.

Some car buyers may instinctively turn to used cars if a good new car deal is unavailable. But according to Edmunds.com, the True Market Value® (TMV®) prices of three-year-old used cars are already up virtually across the board, and have been for the last six months. The average TMV® price for a used Honda Accord, for example, has climbed 24 percent since September 2010. Other popular used car models with double-digit price increases in the last six months include the Hyundai Sonata (+22%), the Honda Civic (13%) and the Nissan Sentra (+12%).

Gas prices also have the potential to influence the market this summer, but if new data on the Toyota Prius from Edmunds.com is any indication, prices at the pump may not have nearly the impact that perceived supply shortages may have. According to Edmunds.com, rising fuel prices resulted in a steady increase in shopping consideration for Toyota's flagship hybrid earlier this year. But since news reports speculated that U.S. inventory of the Japanese-made Prius would suffer following last month's earthquake, consideration for the vehicle on Edmunds.com has slid five percentage points even as gas prices continue to rise.

For more details on this phenomenon, please see Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl's commentary at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/04/are-prius-consumers-too-smart.html

For updates on automotive industry news and analysis, please register to receive the AutoObserver.com newsletter at http://www.edmunds.com/newsletter.

About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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