Sure, used vehicles are popular, but tide seems to be turning

Dealers have been telling us this for months, and now here is a study by Experian Automotive to back it up: Many vehicle buyers over the past year migrated from the new-car showroom to the used-car lot.

But the study also shows that the tide is turning -- or at least backing up a bit, says James Maguire, senior director of marketing at Experian Automotive.

In the second quarter, close to 25 percent of the people who “disposed” of vehicles they purchased as new replaced them with a used vehicle. That’s down from about 30 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

“Of note is that in early 2010, this trend is returning to the established level of just over one in four new-vehicle disposers purchasing to a used vehicle,” Maguire says. “There was a change in consumer behavior, but we seem to be getting back to the norm.”

That’s promising news for dealers’ new-car showrooms and their used-car operations.