Clark identifies upcoming sweet spot on calendar for car buyers


Auto buyers will get all treats and no tricks come Halloween thanks to a couple of converging market factors.

We’ve been in a bad cycle for automobiles since Cash for Clunkers last year and the Japanese earthquake earlier this year. But beginning this fall, we’ll have more supply returning on dealer lots and that will make a big difference.

Put off your new car fever for several weeks and you’ll be rewarded with an improved marketplace. Factor in low consumer confidence, which means that people are less likely to buy, and you’ll see that as supply builds there will be less demand. I’m expecting that combo will make it into a buyer’s market come late October.

Meanwhile, the auto industry is poised to undergo more change in the next 10 years than we saw over the last 40 years.  Here’s a bit of what’s in store:

  • GM has technology that will allow them to make a full-size Buick get 37 miles per gallon on the highway and 25 mpgs in the city.
  • Toyota is introducing a new Camry hybrid that averages 41 mpg.
  • VW’s new Passat is a clean diesel that averages over 40 mpg.

I have what my wife calls a FrankenPrius. It’s a 2009 Toyota Prius that I had outfitted with a lithium ion battery kit so it now averages 90 mpg. The only problem is the conversion to plug-in hybrid was so costly that I’ll probably never make payback. But the point is there are so many possibilities coming.

The improvements will be so dramatic and ultimately will improve our competitive position in the world by reducing our dependence on foreign oil and strengthening our national security.

Editor’s note: Today’s broadcast originated from Greensboro, N.C., as Clark was on book tour for his New York Times No. 1 bestselling book, Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times. Special thanks to FM Talk 101.1 WZTK for hosting Clark during the event.

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