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Women, Minorities & Car Buying
Staying in the Driver's Seat! 

In 2004, according to Target Market News, African Americans spent $28.7 billion nationally purchasing new and pre-owned vehicles. According to research conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth, by 2010, it is projected that Latinos will spend over $40.2 billion purchasing and servicing their vehicles. Overall women influence more than 85 percent of car purchases and this group purchases more than 50 percent of all new vehicles based on industry data. No pun intended automotive executives and marketing gurus realize women and minorities are the key to driving more sales to the street.

Within the past three years, there have been a lot of allegations in the media regarding women and minorities paying more for a vehicle regardless of income, educational attainment and/or gender. A study conducted in the Chicago area in the 90’s revealed African American males were paying more than every other group that made automotive purchases. With that said, how do you know if you’re really receiving a fair deal? There are several issues to consider before you even step onto a car lot!
Are you a payment buyer? Let’s assume you have $300 a month allocated for a car payment. This could mean the difference in driving a $15,000 Toyota Corolla vs. a $30,000 Jaguar X-Type. The Toyota was financed where as the Jaguar was leased. Leasing vs. Purchasing will depend on your lifestyle, values and budget. Most people agree to a lease because it allows them to drive something more expensive than our budget really allows us to had we financed the vehicle.
According to the New York Times Bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door, a number of millionaires purchase pre-owned vehicles. In light of September 11, 2001, the lower interest rates have caused many to rethink that school of thought. Does it make financial sense to purchase a pre-owned vehicle with out a warranty at a higher interest rate as opposed to a new vehicle with a warranty at 0 percent interest and in some cases a rebate? Work out the numbers on the car payment calculator.
As you can see, car buying is a big decision. However, many of us walk by faith without doing our homework. For instance, many of us assume by investing in a prestigious nameplate such as a Saab, a Land Rover and/or a Hummer, the quality is great.  However, the industry guru, J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Initial Quality Study doesn’t support that theory. In fact, unlike in the early 80’s, today’s Hyundai’s quality are considerably better than most makes. This study is based on problems that occur in the first 90 days of ownership. According to J. D. Power and Associates, Hyundai’s recent quality results have managed to upstage Acura, Infiniti, Toyota and the brands previously noted. Yet, the overall resale value and the long-term reliability may be better on the makes Hyundai has managed to upstage. Time will only tell.   
Also, before you drive on a dealer’s lot, check your credit score.  A 1999 documented study conducted by Freddie Mac, Clark–Atlanta University, and several other HBCU’s indicates 47 percent, 34 percent and 27 percent of African Americans, Hispanics and Whites respectively have credit challenges. Due to the current economic climate, one can only assume those numbers have propelled upward.  If you know how to work your deal, a low credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive the higher interest rates just as a high credit score isn’t necessarily indicative of a lower interest rate. The interest rate is in many cases more important than pricing especially on a limited product.
Moreover, develop a budget and stick to it, research the vehicle you want, examine insurance rates and check maintenance costs. Foremost, consider working with dealers and/or individuals that are reinvesting in your community. With the proper planning and preparation, you can spend less time asking God to help you make those payments every month!

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Automotive Factoid:

Female buyers spend slightly more time in the purchasing process than men
(17 weeks vs. 15 weeks).
-American Women Road & Travel

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Tips to Drive Away Predatory Automotive Lending Practices