Considering a Car Purchase?

Purchasing a car can be complicated, and perhaps an even more difficult decision to manage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the ongoing economic challenges, consumers appear more eager than usual to make a vehicle purchase.

As people have shifted their lives to a more virtual environment, consumers continue to shop 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 also want to secure financing online.

According to the same survey, 20% of respondents have surprisingly considered buying a new car because of the pandemic’s economic impact. Additionally, one in three consumers report moving faster to purchase a vehicle than they would under normal conditions. This trend is likely due to a significant decrease in ride-sharing and public transportation use 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 vehicle more often.

Although the 2020 landscape of car purchasing is different, some aspects of the process remain the same. It is crucial for consumers to research, comparison shop, test drive, and thoroughly inspect all prospective vehicles before finalizing a purchase. Knowledge of a responsible budget is a crucial 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 and reach out to your local credit union for additional assistance:

  • 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 your preference can seem daunting. To get started, think of what works best for your lifestyle. Do you need something family friendly or something more suitable for your job? 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, including auto insurance, 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 – Whether shopping in person or online, be sure to choose from several different options, such as direct buying sites, dealer-referral buying sites, and manufacturer’s sites.
  • It’s all about the test drive – It’s always a best practice to drive a car before it is purchased. Take time to check out every inch of the car. Pay attention to how it drives, the way it sounds and feels, and how it responds when you brake and accelerate.
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