When my husband started a new job this summer that required commuting, it was apparent that we needed to buy a second car. I could no longer drop him off at work to take the children to school, dance class, soccer practice, etc . . . Since money has been tight around here, we decided we should just buy a pre-owned car outright because we could not afford a second car payment. At the suggestion of some friends and family, we decided to attempt finding a private seller on Craig's List before we tried to shop the smaller dealers. Needless to say, we were both consumed with the stress of finding a decent reliable used car that was not a lemon. We could not afford to make a mistake.
I think in the current economic state our country is in, a large percentage of people are in the same situation. That is why I was not surprised to see the statistics behind how Americans feel about purchasing a new vehicle. In my opinion, you really need to be well-off enough so that spending a few thousand extra dollars does not even make you blink in order to truly enjoy car shopping.