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Americans Have Love Affairs with Used Cars

Alliance Research Shows How Much Cars Mean To Us

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Americans Have Love Affairs with Used Cars

A man's heart is given over freely to his used car.

(c) VW

It's February and men's thoughts turn to love - a love of their used cars it turns out, according to recent polling from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' Auto Index that confirms what many of us suspected: Americans love their cars.

How strong is Americans' attachments to what is parked in their driveways? Consider this fact from the survey: only one in 5 Americans has no emotional attachment to their used car. That means the remaining 80% have a bit of a crush on the car that they drive.

That's an important fact to keep in mind when buying or selling a used car. Consider this. When selling your used car you have to create some kind of bond with the potential buyer if you are selling your used car as a private seller. Spin a tale that makes their heart sing and they might be more likely to open their purse strings.

Of course, there's also a cautionary tale for used car buyers. Too many people buy with their hearts and not with their heads. That creates potential problems in terms of buying the wrong used car or paying too much for a used car. Leave it to About.com to take the romance out of buying a used car!

For Valentine's Day, the Auto Index delved deeper into the kinds of relationships Americans have with their cars, yielding some interesting findings about what gets Americans' engines revving:

  • The younger you are, the more likely you are to believe your car gives you sex appeal … 47% of 18-29 year olds believe cars can increase your sex appeal compared to 40% of 30-39 year olds, 28% of 40-49 year olds, 21% of 50-64, and just 12% of individuals over 65.
  • Younger people report naming their vehicle at a higher average than the rest of the population … 41% of 18-29 year olds give a name to their vehicles compared to just 33% of individuals over the age of 30.
  • Women and Democrats are more likely to talk to their vehicle than their counterparts … 47% of women and 45% of Democrats report talking to their vehicle, compared to 37% of men and 36% of Republicans.
  • No, you're not paranoid, people do judge you … 72% of those polled believe others judge you by the kind of car you drive.
  • More breakin' up than makin' up … 22% of people report having suffered the end of a relationship in a vehicle, while 12% of people report having had their first kiss in a car.

That first bullet point has been proven time and time again. Younger buyers tend to like flashier cars. They can't afford the new models so they look for their sex appeal in the used car market. That's important to keep in mind when selling a sexy used car. Target the youth market through craigslist or similar used car selling sites. Also, consider using social media to buy or sell your used car because it's more popular among younger buyers.

Frankly, the second bullet has nothing to do with buying or selling a used car. However, if a potential buyer starts talking to the car you are selling - don't be alarmed. Assume they are either a Democrat or a woman. Unless the buyer hears the car answer. Then you should be alarmed.

The third bullet point is going to help you sell a used car. After all, people always want to feel good when spending money on a big-ticket item like a used car. Share stories of success about the used car you are selling, whether it's fast acceleration that defeated a more expensive car or how your used car has been photographed at stoplights or the subject of conversations with perfect strangers.

The fourth bullet point should help used car buyers in particular. Odds are you, if 22% of people have broken off a relationship in a car, that there's a story why the seller is getting rid of a used car. It's an old reporter's trick (after all I am an old reporter) but people love to talk and abhor silence. Maybe you'll find out the seller is getting divorced and wants to get rid of the car quickly. That will always affect the price you should offer. The seller's pain is your gain and cash is the elixir that heals all wounds - even the romantic ones.

Maybe now that you understand American's love affairs with their used cars, you can save some money on your next used car.

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