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There are already signs that used-car prices will come down. Leasing was 21 percent of U.S. sales in February, which was up from 11 percent in 2009, according to Experian Automotive. That should bring more used cars onto the market as three-year leases end.

Banks and auto company finance arms have also loosened up credit for people with poorer credit ratings, meaning more buyers can get a loan for a new car.