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New-car dealers expand used-car sales

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When in the market for a used car, more motorists today are turning to the new-car dealerships than ever before, according to a survey by the Hertz Corporation.

Almost half of all used-car sales are by new-car dealers - 47 percent in 1982 , compared to 42 percent three years ago. Used-car-only dealers saw their market decline - from 18 percent in 1979 to 11 percent this year. Some 19 percent bought directly from someone they knew this year, compared to 11 percent in 1979 .

Fewer people are buying their pre-owned cars from strangers, such as out of the classified columns of newspapers and magazines. The figures are 23 percent in 1982, compared to 29 percent three years ago.

Too, the average used car today is older and the price significantly higher than only two years ago. In 1980, for example, the second-hand car was sold after 3.23 years on the road, had been driven 32,780 miles when purchased, and cost $3,792, according to Hertz, which itself each year retails about 80,000 used cars and trucks from its leased and rental fleets.

The average price for a used car bought this year was $4,773 for a 41/4 -year-old sedan that had already been driven 43,711 miles, compared to the 1981 average of $4,218 for a 3.67-year-old car driven 37,388 miles.

Despite the continuing rise in age and price, however, a good used car is still a goodm buy.

The data are based on two nationwide used-car-buyer sample polls done in 1982 and 1979, plus internal company experience and published industry data, according to Hertz.

''Used cars outsell new ones 2 to 1, and used-car buyers, too, are keeping their autos longer and driving them less to curb soaring expenses,'' says Hertz.

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