Do's and don'ts on coping with rising car prices this summer

(May 10, 2011) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — With lower incentives and higher prices expected in the automotive market this summer, is issuing an updated advisory for consumers thinking of buying a new car within the next few months.

"Production issues in Japan have already triggered price increases and incentive reductions across the board for all makes, both foreign and domestic," said CEO Jeremy Anwyl.

"The average price of a new Honda Civic, for example, has gone up more than $1,600 since March. Prices are expected to climb even more this summer, creating a challenging environment for consumers in need of a new car."

To help car buyers navigate the summer shopping season, offers the following do's and don'ts:

• Do wait until the fall or winter to make your new car purchase. If you don't need a new car right now, the smartest play is to wait until later this year and re-evaluate the market when production is back to normal.
• Do extend your car lease past the summer. Some drivers with leases scheduled to expire this summer may think they have no other choice but to get a new car. However, they can ask the lessor about extending the current lease (using the 800 number on the monthly statement).
• Do consider finishing up someone else's lease. Sometimes a person needs to get out of a lease early; is one company that specializes in matching those consumers with car-shoppers who are interested in a short-term lease. estimates that of the leases currently available for compacts and midsize sedans, about six percent have less than 12 months left on their lease, and many are offered with a cash incentive of more than $1,000. Taking over such a lease could bridge the gap for a new car shopper until the inventory of new cars is restored.
• Do shop around and negotiate. Patient shoppers who look hard enough will still be able to find the deals this summer, but they will have to be flexible about the exact make and model, as well as color and options.

Throughout the summer, will be providing weekly updates for consumers on vehicles with the best deals. also offers tips to successfully bargain with dealers in its advice article "Negotiating 101."
• Don't assume used cars are a better deal.'s research indicates that buying a used car won't provide salvation from inflated prices. Today's used car prices are significantly higher than in the past. A record number of models have earned a place on's list of one-year old used cars that are essentially as expensive as new cars.