11/08/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Buying A Car? Bring Cash

DETROIT -- The few consumers who are buying new cars are being forced into bigger down payments or all-cash deals in the latest sign of how the credit crisis is battering an already weak auto market.

The average down payment on financed car purchases has jumped nearly $1,000, about 20 percent, since July, and all-cash transactions are at their highest point in three years, according to data from the research firm J. D. Power & Associates.

Tighter credit was a crucial factor in the stunning 26.6-percent drop in September vehicle sales in the United States.

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