Within weeks, car dealers across the nation had to rethink the way they were selling vehicles.
With all of the changes, you might wonder how to buy a car during Coronavirus.
Thankfully, dealerships have implemented some new programs and protocols that make the car-buying process easier than ever.
How Does Coronavirus Affect Car Dealerships?
According to U.S. News & World Report, dealerships are facing a lot of challenges during the pandemic. Here are just a few to consider.
- Shortage of cars
- Delay in release of new models
- Safety challenges with customers visiting showroom and test driving
- Lack of employees that feel safe coming to work
5 Changes to Car Buying During COVID-19
With these challenges in hand, car dealerships needed to make some drastic changes. If you are in the market to buy a car during Coronavirus, you might have to rethink the process. Here are some things to consider.
1. New Showroom Hours
Is your local dealership offering the same hours? It’s vital that you look into this before heading out. In fact, some states shut down in-person car sales altogether, and it could happen again.
Check the dealership’s daily hours on their website, or call if you are unsure. For many dealerships, it’s still possible to conduct business, but it might be preferable to do online or over the phone.
2. Online Sales & Support
That brings us right to our next point – part of the car sales process has moved online, at least temporarily. Dealerships have ramped up their efforts to limit the amount of time that a buyer may have to spend at a dealership.
As a former Sales Manager at one of the largest import dealerships in the country, I can promise that dealerships are only being a little more transparent with online negotiations because they have to at the moment, just to move inventory. Dealer groups and owners nationwide are itching to get back to a profitable sales model as quickly as it’s safely possible.
A significant portion of dealer profits for years has come from the business office, where you sign your final paperwork. Little there has changed. In nearly all cases, you’ll still have to sign paperwork in person. At that point, you will be subjected to a product presentation from one of the most highly-skilled sales reps in the dealership…they’ll just probably be wearing a mask this time.
3. Adding More Tools to Website
Once you find the car model you are interested in, dealerships provide more tools to help you toward ownership or leasing. You can still apply for financing online through the dealership, or your bank just as before the COVID-19 Pandemic, though you may find that the process is a bit more stream-lined now.
Of course, you will still need to know many things, such as how to buy a car from a dealer and how to get the best vehicle price. These are still tricks and tips that will leave considerably more money in your pocket when the process is over.
4. Virtual Test Drives
You don’t have to personally experience a vehicle anymore to understand everything that’s included. Dealerships, such as Teton VW, are now offering virtual test drives. Simply choose the model you are interested in and get an in-depth video about what to expect.
Another popular option is to watch YouTube car reviews so that you can have a better idea of what to expect when evaluating different models. If you chose to go in that direction, we’ve already compiled a list of seven amazing channels to see informative YouTube car reviews to get you started.
If you still prefer to drive the vehicle for yourself, which I highly recommend for at least a dozen reasons, many dealerships will bring it to you. I do suggest that you take the test drive either alone or with a family member instead of the sales associate. Then schedule your test drive and wait for it to arrive. Of course, it’s always best to take a sanitizing wipe to all of the touch surfaces before going for a ride.
It’s critical to remember here that if you buy the car without test driving it, sign the paperwork, and drive it home…guess what, there’s no backing out.
- What if the seat’s uncomfortable?
- What if the visibility is poor?
- What if the engine performance is disappointing?
Dealerships are still just as unlikely to “un-wind” a deal now more than ever due to months of decreasing sales. Since no laws have changed relating to how to buy a car during Coronavirus, assume that once you sign the papers and drive it off the lot, it’s your responsibility. So please test drive it first…safely.
In our free How to Negotiate for a Car Course, we take a deep-dive into test drives, among many other topics.
5. New Sanitizing Protocols
On the subject of sanitizing, expect dealerships to be doing more to keep you safe. For the times when you must visit the dealership, it’s helpful to investigate how that dealership is handling sanitization procedures. At the least, your dealership should be performing the following functions:
- Using a hospital-grade disinfectant in all public areas.
- Cleaning regularly while paying special attention to bathrooms, door handles, and the lobby.
- Cleaning the vehicle after every test drive.
- Providing antibacterial hand sanitizing stations throughout the showroom.
- Evaluating employees for illness and keeping anyone home that has symptoms.
Getting the Best Deal When Learning How To Buy a Car During Coronavirus
The truth is, even when the pandemic subsides, car buying as we know it may be slightly different. More relating to a dealer’s willingness to negotiate front-end price over the phone or by e-mail. But the industry will likely never shift to a platform where you can buy a car just as quickly as ordering something on Amazon.
That’s why you will want to learn how to buy a car during Coronavirus and after.
Our systematic approach to buying or leasing helps to get you prepared for the dealer by aiding in your finding the vehicle that best suits your needs, from price to your convenience requirements. Car Buyer Class is now and still will be your go-to source to get behind the wheel quickly, safely, and the most affordably.
Whether you want to take the class yourself, or you have friends and family you are concerned about – we can help. Share this article with your car-buying friends by clicking your favorite social media platform to the right. Then, leave us a comment telling us what you learned through the class. Thanks for reading!