DETROIT -- More shoppers are willing to pay extra for used-vehicle certification but the amount they are willing to pay has dropped, a new study concludes.
New-car shoppers in AutoTrader.com's 2014 Certified Pre-Owned Study said they are willing to pay a $2,032 premium for a certified used vehicle, vs. one that isn't. That was down $908, or nearly a third, from the amount new-car shoppers in last year's study said they were willing to pay.
The amount certified used vehicle intenders in this year's study are willing to pay dropped $190 to $2,244 and the amount used-vehicle buyers are willing to pay dropped $78 to $2,085.
This was the first time in the study's four years that the amount new-car shoppers are willing to pay declined, said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with AutoTrader.com.
The decline in willingness to pay more in this year's study, especially by new-car shoppers, is likely the result of widespread availability of new-car incentives and financing, Krebs said.
"Consumers see less of a gap between a new car and a CPO because of incentives, and used-car prices have come down a little bit," said Krebs. "There are more cars out there so there is more wheeling and dealing."
Consumers typically pay about 10 percent more for a certified used vehicle than they pay for a like make, model and condition used vehicle that is uncertified, Krebs said.
The study found that 84 percent of new-car shoppers it surveyed are willing to pay a premium for a certified used vehicle, up 22 points from last year's study.
Eighty-three percent of certified used vehicle intenders are willing to pay more, up 17 points, while 51 percent of used-car shoppers are willing to pay more, also up 17 points.
Previous studies focused on vehicle shoppers only. But this year it was expanded to include certified used vehicle owners.
A portion of the study drawn from an online survey of 1,195 owners of certified used vehicles conducted in August found that certified used-vehicle buyers age 34 and younger settled for a certified used vehicle but really wanted a new vehicle.
Rick Wainschel, vice president of customer insights at AutoTrader.com, said buyers 34 and younger are less satisfied than older buyers with their certified used vehicles.
When asked to cite the disadvantages of owning a certified used vehicle, many younger buyers said that it is used and might have problems, Wainschel said.
He added: "In many cases they can't afford it but they aspire to own a new car."