All over the world, people are now dealing with a new reality thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Millions of people have lost their jobs, others are forced to work from home, and daily life as we know it has drastically changed. One industry that has been hit particularly hard is the auto industry.
With most people staying home whenever they can, and financial insecurity everywhere, there is less demand to buy a new car. On top of that, people are reluctant to go browse through a car dealership to find the car that they want. As a result, major car manufacturers have had to change the way they do business. Below are just a few of the changes they have made, some of which can significantly impact consumers’ ability to purchase a new car.
Offering Vehicle Delivery
One simple change that auto dealers have made is offering vehicle delivery on new purchases. Now consumers can browse for a car online, complete the transaction over the phone, then have the car delivered right to their home. While they miss out on the opportunity to test-drive the car, they don’t have to worry about interacting with anyone who might have been infected. This service is especially helpful if a consumer already knows what type of car they want to get, as it saves them the hassle of having to go into the dealership.
Extended Warranties and Maintenance Plans
Another thing car companies are providing is extensions on extended warranties and maintenance plans. For example, BMW has a policy that all extended warranties or maintenance plans that have expired since March 16th will now be extended until May 1st. This helps to ensure that you are getting the full value from the BMW extended warranty cost since you won’t be getting charged while you are not even using your vehicle.
Also, because maintenance plans have been extended, consumers won’t have to take their car in for service during this situation. They can wait for the situation to die down a bit before taking their vehicle into a crowded auto shop, further protecting themselves. Many other dealers have adopted similar plans as BMW, so consumers should check to see what the status is of their own plans.
Delaying First Payment
Consumers who are worried about making their monthly payments because of financial insecurity, and are therefore unwilling to purchase a new car, should look to see which dealers are offering delayed first payments. Companies like Honda now have a policy in place to delay your first payment by 90 days. This means consumers can get the new car they need now but won’t have to make their first payment on it for 90 days. By then the financial situation for millions of people should be much improved and they can go about making their car payments as they normally would.
Specific Car Payment Plans
In some situations, car dealers will work with a consumer to adjust their current payment plan. Dealers are aware that millions of people are getting laid off, or not making as much money as they once were. Rather than having customers default on their payments, the dealer may offer you either a lower rate for a specific period of time or defer your payments for a few months. These deals typically happen on a case-by-case basis and will depend on that customer’s specific financial situation. Consumers worried about their car payments should talk to either the bank where they secured their loan or the car dealer to see what type of options are available to them.
Finally, not every decision the car manufacturers have made has been to the benefit of consumers. Because of the lack of demand, and due to safety concerns, most major car companies have had to furlough or suspend large portions of their employee base for the time being. So, while these companies are doing what they can to help their customers, many of their employees are now suddenly finding themselves out of a job for at least the time being. This may result in a slow in production or an increase in cost for consumers when they go to buy a new vehicle.
Consumers Should Explore Their Options
Every car owner, or anyone looking to become one, should explore what car manufacturers are doing during these times. They may find some very beneficial plans that will either make it easier to afford your current car payment, purchase a new one, or keep you safe.