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PRICE SAVERS: Car Color Could Mean More Cash

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The Great Recession appears to have changed our buying habits. We are holding onto our vehicles longer than ever at a time when the average price of new vehicle is more expensive than ever.

We asked three long-time automobile insiders to share their tips on how to save the most money when it is time to buy - Carl Moyer, the owner of Karl's Chevrolet, Greg Williams, the general manager of Noble Automotive in Newton and Ron Frandsen, the general manager of Wilson Toyota Scion in Ames.

They say it's possible to save money if you try to time your purchase. You might get more attention and potentially a better deal if you shop during the week when a dealership isn't as crowded. You could save money by shopping at the end of the business day, hoping the sales staff is more willing to deal when it is time to go home. And you might find a better offer at the end of a month as people compete to reach sales goals. But all three insiders say none of that is guaranteed.

They feel a more sure way to save money is to buy at the end of a model year as dealers move out the old models to make room for the new ones. Your selection could be limited buying the older model year but you might save thousands.

And the insiders agree the color of your vehicle could be worth money at trading time. All agree that overall red may be the easier color vehicle to sell. So it holds its value best.

red carHowever, Williams offers one additional take on the color concept. He sells both Fords and Chevrolets at his dealership. The Chevy Silverado is the best-selling vehicle in Iowa. And he agrees red is the most popular color. But the Ford F-150 is the second best seller in the state. And Williams believes white or silver is a more popular choice.

All three men also quickly talked down a popular question on the internet about whether paying cash gets you a better deal. Paying cash will save you money because you won't be financing a loan and paying back the interest. But a vehicle's cost to the dealer is the same no matter how you pay. So paying cash isn't likely going to get the dealer to drop your purchase price.

Here are the most popular selling vehicles in Iowa for 2012 according to Reg-Trak.

Top 20 selling cars according to make, model and then the count (total sold in Iowa)

Make  Model Count
Toyota Camry 3010
Chevrolet Malibu 2980
Chevrolet Cruze 2761
Ford Fusion 2601
Ford Focus 2174
Toyota Prius 1845
Chevrolet Impala 1678
Nissan Altima 1657
Chrysler 200 1653
Toyota Corolla 1437
Honda Accord 1397
Honda Civic 1274
Hyundai Sonata 1097
Kia Optima 1073
Ford Taurus 1030
Buick Lacrosse 911
Chevrolet Sonic 890
Hyundai Elantra 887
Top 20 Selling Trucks & SUVs
Chevrolet Silverado 10585
Ford F150 8185
Chevrolet Equinox 5262
Dodge Ram 3830
Ford Escape 2997
Chrysler Town & Country 2360
GMC Sierra 2308
Honda CR-V 2021
Ford Edge 1984
Ford Explorer 1794
Dodge Grand Caravan 1723
Chevrolet Traverse 1624
Ford F250 1611
Jeep Grand Cherokee 1550
Toyota Rav4 1545
Toyota Highlander 1366
Buick Enclave 1302
GMC Acadia 1284