Purchasing a car can be a big, complicated decision – but it seems to be one consumers are more eager than usual to make during this unprecedented year.
As people have shifted their lives around the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of consumers have begun shopping for cars online. According to a recent Cars.com survey, which polled around 3,000 respondents earlier this year, 48% of consumers said they’re interested in handling price negotiations online, while 42% said they want to handle financing online, as well.
According to the same survey, 20% of respondents have considered buying a new car because of the economic impact of the pandemic. What’s more, 1 in 3 consumers report moving faster to purchase a vehicle than they would under normal conditions. Likely, this trend has formed while ride-sharing and public transportation use have been at an all-time low during the pandemic. In fact, the Cars.com survey found 40% of respondents are using ride-sharing services less often since the COVID-19 outbreak, with 93% of those people claiming they now rely on their own cars more often.
Although the landscape of purchasing cars has changed a bit in 2020, some aspects of the process remain the same. It is crucial to research, comparison shop, test drive and thoroughly inspect all prospective vehicles before buying. Knowledge of a workable budget is also an important part of the car-buying process.
Tips for Purchasing a New Car in 2020
With so many options, purchasing a new car can feel a bit overwhelming. What kind of car do you want or need? Which cars work with your budget? How can you find the best deals? Follow the tips below from Kelley Blue Book for an ultra-smooth car-buying process.
- Know your shopping style – When you shop for a car, do you focus on value, method or safety? Evaluate what’s most important to you in order to get the most out of your car-buying experience, as well as to avoid buyer’s remorse.
- Narrow it down – With so many different cars on the market these days, narrowing down your preference can seem daunting. To get started, think of what works best for your lifestyle. Do you need something roomy enough for small children? A mode of transportation suitable enough to take clients to lunch? Something strong enough to tow? Asking yourself lifestyle questions like these can help cut down your available choices.
- Figure out what you can realistically afford – Try to avoid overspending on a new car. By factoring in all the financial considerations, you’ll be able to calculate what you can truly afford. You may want to use one of the many online tools to help you come up with a realistic figure you feel comfortable spending, like this one from Nerd Wallet. As the time to pay comes nearer, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a price that works best for you.
- Research new cars online – You may find it helpful to read consumer reviews and safety specs online before purchasing a new car. Expert opinions should also be considered before buying.
- Shop financing, warranties and insurance – Although self-explanatory, it is always best to shop around interest and insurance rates, as well as the best extended warranties for your new vehicle.
- Choose the best buying option – Gone are the days when you had to travel to the dealership to purchase your new car. Of course, you can still purchase your car in person, but you can also choose from several different online avenues, such as direct buying sites, dealer-referral buying sites and manufacturer’s sites. Some of them will even deliver your new car right to your front door!
- It’s all about the test drive – If you plan to test drive your car before you make a purchase (something you should definitely consider), make the most out of it. Take time to check out every inch of the car, inside and out. Pay attention to how the car handles, the way it sounds and feels, and how it responds when you brake and accelerate.
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