Car shoppers are ready to take advantage of Memorial Day weekend deals — if they can find them, according to recent research from leading digital automotive marketplace and solutions provider Cars.com. However, shoppers may have better luck selling their vehicle to a local car dealership.
With vehicle inventory levels falling, the demand for used cars is up, giving consumers a prime opportunity to get substantially more for their current vehicle given used-car list prices have increased 14% since January.
“Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a very active car-shopping holiday with significant discounts offered across the industry, but the global chip shortage and huge consumer demand continues to impact both new and used dealer inventory,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com’s assistant managing editor. “A few attractive deals still exist this holiday among the more than 2 million cars for sale on Cars.com, but now is a prime time for consumers with a little-used extra vehicle sitting in their garage to cash in, as most dealers are relying on trade-ins to maintain their stock.”
Despite new-car list prices increasing by more than 5% since January – April and used-car prices up 14%, more than half of shoppers (51%) in Cars.com’s recent national survey say they are willing to pay more this holiday weekend to find the car they want.
“Buyers with a car to trade in may find some relief from its inflated residual value, which can help take the sting out of a higher-priced replacement vehicle,” Mays said. “That’s especially true if the trade-in is less than 4 years old, a group with the highest dealer-reported shortages. If shopping for a specific model, consumers should expand their search radius on Cars.com to include surrounding ZIP codes, including urban areas. Our dealer surveys suggest urban dealerships in particular may have more inventory in stock.”
Cars.com’s Memorial Day car-buying survey also found:
- Inventory lags buyer demand. Because of current inventory shortages on dealer lots, nearly 40% of shoppers have had trouble finding the car they want.
- Shoppers want new cars. Most shoppers (61%) plan to buy new, while 24% plan to buy used; 8% want CPO and 8% are undecided.
- Rooting for U.S. roots. A good portion of car shoppers (48%) plan to buy from brands with historically U.S. roots like Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Jeep, Chrysler and Tesla.
- SUVs reign, but sedans are still popular. Most car shoppers (37%) plan to buy an SUV, followed by a close second of 30% planning to buy a sedan and 11% buying a pickup truck.
- Nearly half of holiday shoppers are considering electric or hybrid. While 45% of shoppers plan to buy a gas-only vehicle, almost the same number (44%) are considering a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV model.
- Holiday deals are slim but meaningful. While there aren’t as many as in years past, there are still some deals to be had, though they’re muted. Cars.com’s top 2021 Memorial Day deals include discounts on select trims of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Toyota Camry and Corolla.