2010 Discounting Forecast: Retail and Auto

Retailers manage inventory levels and reduce the number of sales.

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Also, expect to see rising prices on used vehicles this year. In 2009, car manufacturers sold fewer fleet vehicles, cars typically sold to rental car agencies or commercial businesses. Therefore, fewer older fleet vehicles were sold to used car companies, in turn reducing the total number of used cars on the market and increasing their prices. This fleet management process will continue throughout 2010, Schuster says. As these used car prices rise, the new vehicle market will begin to look more attractive to car buyers.

Additionally, look out for lower monthly payments for new car leasing in 2010, Schuster says. "The benefit of leasing is you can buy more car with less of a monthly payment, as you are only paying for part of the vehicle," he says. The availability of new car leasing is increasing, as GM and Chrysler are returning to leasing after a hiatus from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2009. There are still fewer leased cars available on the market and thus fewer going into the used car market. This has increased the leased vehicle's value at the end of the lease, ultimately lowering monthly leased car payments across the industry, Schuster says.

"In other words, the deals aren't going away, but you have to look harder to find them," Schuster says. "You may have to be more flexible; the incentives may not match exactly what you are looking for."