DETROIT - Despite heavy incentives fueling new-vehicle sales, the appetite for used vehicles continues to grow.
A national survey found that 41 percent of likely buyers plan to buy a used vehicle next, up from 32 percent last year.
That means 59 percent said they will buy new, down from 68 percent last year.
The survey of 1,254 likely buyers was conducted in January by Dohring Co., an automotive research company based in Glendale, Calif.
Eighty-five percent of the study's respondents said the prices of new vehicles prompt them to consider a used vehicle.
Four out 10 respondents said they would rather purchase a high-end used vehicle for $20,000 than a new vehicle for the same price.
Rik Kinney, a senior vice president at Dohring, said the popularity of used vehicles continues to climb despite high incentives on new vehicles.
More than one-third, 36 percent, of the study's respondents said hefty incentives will lure them to shop for a new vehicle.
And 48 percent of the respondents said an incentive will be one of their primary considerations when deciding what model to purchase.
'As the prices of cars continue to go up, even with incentives, we're still at an extremely high price level,' Kinney said. 'You have 35- to 55-year-olds who have become a very pragmatic group.'
Kinney said he saw no scenario that will break the cycle of escalating new vehicle prices that push more and more consumers into the used market.
However, 'Ultimately, it's an opportunity,' Kinney said. 'Both dealers and manufacturers have to learn to capitalize on the used-vehicle side.'