Is The Latest Tech Really a Reason to Buy a New Car?

According to a new survey, the answer is in this county is a resounding yes.

What looks like some good news for the U.S. auto industry is actually has the certified credit counselors at Consolidated Credit worried.

The cause of our counselors’ consternation is a new report from J.D. Power, which released a new study last week that boasted, “New-vehicle buyers cite latest technology as a reason for purchasing domestic vehicles more often than as a reason for purchasing imports.”

So it seems U.S. carmakers can take a chunk of sales from their overseas competitors if they pack their vehicles with more high-tech gadgets, whether it’s in-car Internet or automatic lift gates.

But it should also be noted that in the same study, only 15 percent of respondents cited gas mileage as the “most influential purchase reason.” What was the top reason? “Exterior styling” at 33 percent.

This smacks of the SUV craze of a decade ago. And it’s a sign that American consumers may not have retained the tough lessons we all learned during the recession.

“If you’re buying cars for the wrong reasons, you’re bound to get into trouble,” says Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “And what we’re seeing now with upgrading to get the latest tech is the SUV trend all over again. It’s a recipe for financial disaster for many consumers.”

The hook the auto industry is working to expand would lead car buyers to upgrade more frequently. Consider how much of a financial challenge it would be to upgrade your car as often as you trade in your smart phone – because the technology becomes dated so fast and advertisers have trained us to seek out ever-new tech.

So buying a car to get the latest technology isn’t doing any favors for your bottom line. Always keep in mind that the point of your car is to get you from Point A to Point B – and you need to be able to do that in the most affordable way possible. Your main concerns with any purchase should always be financial, including:

  1. Can you afford the monthly payments?
  2. How much interest will you pay over the life of the loan?
  3. How much will gas cost every month?
  4. How much will it cost to maintain the vehicle

If you want to learn more, check out Consolidated Credit’s Cutting Car Costs section. The advice is free.

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