Is it a good time to buy a car? Consumers across the country have no doubt been asking themselves that question in recent months, as an aging fleet of vehicles – the average car is 11.4 years old – drastically suppressed interest rates and improving economic conditions have set the stage for significant buying activity. And that is exactly what we’ve gotten, with 16.5 million cars being sold in 2014.
Whether or not the good times will keep on rolling in 2015 remains to be seen, however. Most forecasts indicate that sales will grow, ending the year with a record 17 million vehicles sold. But when you also consider expectations for rising interest rates as well as current global economic turmoil and depressed oil prices – which simultaneously make consumers feel flush yet unmotivated to buy fuel-efficient vehicles – it’s obvious why opinions are mixed as to the auto industry’s strength in 2015.
With that being said, five of the seven auto industry and consumer spending experts we consulted for this report responded with a grade of seven or higher when asked: On a scale of 1 (an emphatic no) to 10 (an emphatic yes), is now a good time to buy a car? “I would say 9 or 10 since we are looking at an improving economy in the USA but challenges abroad,” said Frank L. DuBois, chair of the Kogod School of Business at American University. “Consumers that have delayed purchases are now getting forced into looking for cars as maintenance and repair costs on older cars rise.”