Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, certain activities continue to be essential and necessary. Whether your lease is about to expire or you just need transportation, you might find yourself in the position where you need to buy a car during the pandemic. As many other things have changed, there are changes to the car buying process as well. The following are six tips for navigating car shopping during the pandemic.
Even though test-driving multiple vehicles is an invaluable way to research, you can still do quite a lot of research online first. You’ll probably want to minimize your exposure to different dealerships and cars during the pandemic. Not only that, but many dealerships have started accepting customers by appointment only. This can make going out for multiple test-drives highly impractical. However, you can find out a lot about cars online. Read car reviews, watch test-drives and video reviews of cars, compare specs and get familiar with all the trims and configurations. Take as many detailed notes as you need to have them at your fingertips when you start car shopping.
Look For New Incentive Programs
As many businesses take financial hits from the pandemic, they are looking for ways to bring in customers and keep their staff employed. Automakers and dealerships are no exception. This means that several automakers have started rolling out new incentives for customers to buy vehicles during the pandemic. Some automakers with these programs include the following:
– General Motors
– Fiat Chrysler
– Jaguar/Land Rover
The programs vary and include things like deferred financing, cashback, and zero percent interest. Some automakers specify that only certain vehicles qualify for these incentives. For example, GM has a zero percent finance offer with 120 days of deferred payments. It only applies to Chevy Equinox, Trax and LD Silverado, plus Buick Encore and Envision models and GMC Acadia and Terrain models.
Get In Touch With Your Dealership Internet Sales Department
All dealerships typically have an internet sales department, and most likely this will now be the bulk of their customer service. Once you decide on a vehicle, you can start searching local dealerships and getting in touch with these departments. You should be able to virtually iron out all the details such as availability, price and financing. Some dealerships are finding creative ways to let customers see a vehicle such as a video chat walkthrough. The salesperson can film your prospective vehicle inside and out to give you a solid idea of what it looks like.
Use Online Tools To Get Financed
Even in normal circumstances, getting financed at the dealership can take some time. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can get financing through online forms. Many dealerships allow you to fill out finance forms online. You can also get pre-approved from a bank or auto loan provider online. If you do get pre-approved at a bank or credit union, you can let your dealership know to see if they can get you a more competitive rate.
Check Safety Procedures Before Visiting the Dealership
If you do need to go to the dealership in person, make sure to ask about the safety procedures in place. As previously mentioned, many dealerships have started taking customers by appointment only, which minimizes how many people are on the lot and in the building at the same time. Some dealerships have also started using disposable barriers in certain parts of the cars such as the seats, door handles and steering wheel.
Some dealerships are committing even harder to stay at home mandates by offering vehicle delivery. Essentially, this means that you can do the vast majority of buying your new vehicle online and then a salesperson will deliver the car to your home along with any documents that you need to fill out and sign in person. This means that you can potentially buy a new vehicle without ever leaving your home.
Buying a new car during the pandemic doesn’t have to be stressful. There are plenty of options for buying a vehicle online as well as new incentives that make a lot of financial sense in these times.