Sales of certified used vehicles have increased 46 percent since 2000, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Used-Vehicle Sales and Certification Study. In 2002, 35 percent of late-model used vehicles sold were certified used vehicles.
The inaugural study measures the satisfaction and experiences of more than 11,000 used-vehicle buyers and certified used-vehicle owners. "Certified" refers to late-model used vehicles that have typically undergone a detailed inspection at the dealership and are sold with the manufacturer-backed warranty coverage.
Less than one-quarter of certified used vehicle buyers initially set out to do so, despite the number (53 percent) of used-vehicle buyers who were aware of certification programs before they began shopping. However, awareness of certification is increasing and the programs are attracting buyers who originally would only consider new cars. One-half of all certified used-vehicle buyers say they would not have purchased a used-vehicle were it not for the certification program.
Certified used-vehicles and the benefits of these programs have been especially attractive to luxury buyers. According to the study, this group purchases vehicles at a higher rate than non-luxury buyers. Ranking highest in certified used-vehicle owner satisfaction is Lexus, which received top ratings in all factors contributing to satisfaction with certified used-vehicle programs: program features, vehicle quality, shopping experience, and vehicle price.