How to navigate buying a used or new car

Photo by Andrew Rulloda

Bill Brandt Ford in Brentwood is one of the oldest Ford dealerships in the county.

Antioch resident Ushean Fernando knew it was time to search for a new car. In November 2021, with his 2011 Toyota Sienna aging and accumulating a lot of miles, while he was increasingly frustrated and concerned with rising gas prices, Fernando soon ventured out to find a deal. Fernando desired a Toyota Hybrid Highlander, Honda Pilot, or a certified used car, but soon became frustrated for another reason.

“I was alarmed, but I didn’t buy at the time,” said Fernando, in reference to the rising prices of used cars. “Car prices skyrocketed. Then, it was jumping up $4,000, then $6,000, then $8,000; $52,000 became $56,000, and then I just gave up. Then people started to get the used cars. Why should I go for a used car when I could just buy a brand-new car? A lot of people don’t want to bargain with a used car.”

Fernando is one of the many consumers coming to grips with the reality of increased car prices as a result of a variety of different factors in today’s world. The prices of new cars have risen due to higher production costs, global supply chain problems, as well as a semiconductor (“chip”) shortage, which stalled new auto production, according to statistics from financial services company J.P. Morgan and data analytics firm J.D. Power.


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