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Used Cars in Salt Lake City Drives Sales

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - 2009 - the nation's deep and continuing recession may be wreaking havoc on the sale of new automobiles and light trucks in Utah, but there is one bright spot for many dealers -- used cars. The number of used cars and trucks sold in Utah rose 8 percent during the first quarter of this year, compared with the fourth quarter 2008, according to data from the Utah Tax Commission. Nationally, the sharp U-turn in buying habits has led to a 5.8 percent increase in the price of used cars in the past year -- including a 16 percent spike since the beginning of 2009, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.

Although recessionary pressures are helping increase the desire for used cars among Utah consumers, that same demand also has produced a shortage of pre-owned vehicles and contributed to an overall increase in prices.

One of the big reasons for a shortage of used automobiles is that with new-car sales down in Utah and across the country, dealers are seeing fewer trade-ins. To keep their pre-owned car lots stocked, many dealers are going to used-car auctions to buy inventory.

There is another reason for the tight supply of used cars. Many of the car rental companies are holding on to their automobiles longer as they try to get more value out of their fleets.

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