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The `Real' Cost of Owning a '99 Car or Truck Higher Than Expected

16 April 1999

The `Real' Cost of Owning a '99 Car or Truck Higher Than Expected

    CAMPBELL, Calif.--April 16, 1999--For 1999, automotive industry experts, including organizations like the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA), are suggesting the actual cost of a new car or truck is just under $24,000.
    In reality, according to IntelliChoice, the California-based research firm that has evaluated vehicle ownership costs for the last 13 years, the actual cost of ownership for these vehicles is much higher: $32,369 for trucks and $36,558 for cars.
    "With more than 800 models and trim levels to choose from today, it obviously pays to do a little homework before purchasing a new car or truck because the sticker price doesn't tell the whole story," said IntelliChoice President Kevin Dulsky. "Our research shows that the vehicle with the lowest purchase price is not necessarily the vehicle that will cost the least to own over time."
    IntelliChoice annually announces the total ownership cost of vehicles from each model year. This analysis includes calculations for depreciation, financing, insurance, fees, fuel, maintenance and repairs over a five-year period. The sum of these seven categories represents what a consumer can expect to spend to own and operate a vehicle.
    "What seemed like a great buy at the dealership will actually wind up costing much more in the long run," said Dulsky. "Purchasing a car is a huge expenditure, and not understanding the economics of vehicle ownership can cost you thousands of dollars."
    The following are the seven cost categories and their percentage of the projected five-year total ownership costs for cars and trucks.

                Cars (avg. cost $36,558)    Trucks (avg. cost $32,369)

Depreciation              37%                          32%
Financing                 15%                          15%
Insurance                 25%                          24%
Fees                       3%                           3%
Fuel                       9%                          14%
Maintenance                8%                           9%
Repairs                    3%                           3%

    All of the comparative cost information consumers need to make an informed purchase is published by IntelliChoice in the 1999 editions of "The Complete Car Cost Guide(tm)" and "The Complete Small Truck Cost Guide(tm)," which are available (at a suggested retail price of $45 each) by calling 1-800-CARBOOK (1-800-227-2665).
    Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice is the only company that develops and distributes consumer automobile ownership cost information. Additionally, IntelliChoice offers pricing and feature and specification data, including invoice prices, that are free at The nation's largest provider of new and used vehicle purchasing summaries available on paper, fax and the web, IntelliChoice is also the only company to provide comprehensive leasing analyses and pre-owned vehicle reports for free at its web site. IntelliChoice is a PRIMEDIA company.