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Shopping For A Deal

How to find the best deal when financing your next vehicle

A new survey reveals that more than seven out of 10 consumers do not check their personal credit score or compare financing options from dealers and credit unions/banks before heading to the showroom. This is despite the fact that almost six out of 10 of those polled say they do conduct research on particular car or truck models before going to the dealer.

"During the vehicle buying process, consumers tell us they put a lot of research into the car or truck they are considering," said Eric Hoffman of Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics (AWARE), a new auto finance consumer education coalition that sponsored the nationwide survey. "Our goal is to help educate consumers so they are as aware about their financing as they are about the vehicle they are buying."

According to AWARE's survey, the vehicle financing process is out of the consumers' comfort zone. Fewer than half (48 percent) said they feel informed about vehicle financing, while 32 percent of consumers said they feel uninformed.

"We found that most consumers classified themselves as 'novices' or 'apprentices' when it comes to vehicle financing and admit to feeling uninformed when it comes to that process," Hoffman said. "Our mission at AWARE is to reach out to and be a resource for all Americans who are thinking about buying another vehicle."

One of AWARE's primary initiatives is a Web site — — that provides consumers with information needed to make educated financing decisions. The Web site includes auto finance calculators, advice and tips about financing and leasing, printable wallet cards with tips and more. All materials are available in English and Spanish.

The poll further revealed that three in 10 consumers were very interested in learning more from the vehicle financing industry. Those most interested are African Americans (81 percent), consumers aged 25-54 (68 percent) and parents (68 percent).

"Individual members of AWARE have worked diligently to educate consumers about financing options," said Hoffman. "But even with such a strong track record, our research has indicated that if we combined education efforts, we could have a greater impact on consumers. That's why the auto dealers and financial services company leaders involved with vehicle financing came together to provide consumers with the information, tools and resources they need to make informed decisions when financing a vehicle."

The national poll, conducted by KRC Research on November 17-21, questioned 1,030 Americans aged 18 and older.

(Source: AWARE)