Nearly 9 out of 10 used car shoppers willing to consider CPO vehicles

(December 10, 2015) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — An overwhelming majority of used car shoppers say that they would be willing to pay more for a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday by car shopping destination

The findings come at a time when CPO sales are at their highest all-time levels, and are expected by Edmunds analysts to continue to grow in the coming year.

According to the survey, 88 percent of the 2,017 adults polled said that if they were to consider a used car, they would be willing to pay more for a certified pre-owned vehicle. Among these potential CPO shoppers, 37.8 percent said that they would spend up to an additional $1,000 for the benefits of a CPO vehicle, while an additional 36.9 percent said that they would be willing to spend up to $500 more.

While programs can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, a certified pre-owned vehicle is generally defined as a used vehicle that has undergone a minimum 100-point inspection in which any mechanical and body issues are addressed. The vehicles also are generally accompanied by a manufacturer-backed warranty and may include other benefits such as free maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance and low-APR financing. These CPO benefits come at an added cost that is typically baked into the price of the vehicle. data estimates that CPOs vehicle are $1,400 more expensive, on average, than similar non-CPO vehicles.

"More and more shoppers are opening their eyes to the benefits of certified pre-owned vehicles," says Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell.

"These cars offer a unique value proposition to shoppers who want to pay used car prices but demand the peace of mind that comes with a new car purchase. And while CPO used to be associated only with expensive luxury brands, we've seen every mainstream brand get into the game in recent years. With more near-new cars coming off lease and making up a larger chunk of used car supply, shoppers can expect even more CPO vehicles on dealer lots in the coming months and years."

According to's Q3 2015 Used Vehicle Market Report published this week, certified pre-owned cars accounted for nearly 22 percent of used car purchases at franchise dealerships from July through September. That is the largest CPO share of any third quarter, and an increase from 18.4% of all franchise used car transactions in Q3 2010.

The holiday season is an especially strong time for CPO sales. Edmunds analysts found that in seven of the last eight years, December delivered a higher share of CPO sales than in any other month. Last December, CPO sales made up an estimated 24 percent of franchise used car sales, the second highest share for any single month on record (behind the 25 percent share registered in May 2015).

Late last month, editors named Hyundai as the automaker with the best current CPO program, thanks in large part to its 10-year powertrain warranty.