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New Car Buyers: Economy, Credit Crunch Slowing Them Down?

car_lot_AP.jpg
AP

Here's a question: Are you in the market for a new car or truck? It's a simple enough question, but with the economy slowing, and credit tightening up, more and more people are actually putting off buying a new ride.

When I saw the latest survey of new car buyers from CNW Market Research, I was not surprised to see that 13% of the people in the market for new wheels are putting off making the purchase. And more than 17% say the reason is related to housing economics (less equity to tap, paying a higher mortgage rate, etc.). It's tangible proof people are worried and not in the mood to plunk down 15, 25, or 35 grand for a new car or truck.

In the past, this kind of pullback would force panic in Detroit and get the automakers into a mode of throwing out sweeter deals. But right now, they aren't doing that. On average, industry incentives are just $14 greater than at the same time last year.

If there is any good news in all of this for you and me, it's the fact we can drive our cars and trucks longer and still get solid performance. The quality of all models has improved so much in the last 8 or 9 years, vehicles are running longer and performing better as they approach and pass 100,000 miles.

So have you put off buying that new car or pick-up you've been thinking about? If so, you aren't alone.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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