If you're hoping to do good business with a new car at the sales events on July 4th, this is a mixed thing.
While manufacturers and retailers are offering special offers for some models to increase sales during the pandemic, inventories have decreased due to production disruptions due to corona virus.
"We have seen in the past few weeks that industry-wide incentives have continued to grow, although inventories are falling," said Kelsey Mays, chief consumer affairs officer at Cars.com.
On May 20, a sign posted on the door of a General Motors Co.Buick and GMC dealership in Woodbridge, New Jersey, urged customers to practice social distancing.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
According to studies by Edmunds.com, the number of new cars at the beginning of June decreased by a third compared to the same period in the previous year. At the same time, car sales in June were up 3.3% on May, although Cox Automotive estimates it was 30% down on the previous year.
"People will still see deals … but we can all say exactly what we want – the color, the options – and that is difficult for many cars to find," said Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of Insights at Edmunds .
"New car sales weren't great during the pandemic, but they were pretty decent and some dealers ran out of stock," said Caldwell.
According to a Cars.com survey conducted in June, 69% of consumers who plan to buy on the weekend of July 4th plan to buy a new car. Another 23% said they bought a used car (including certified used cars) and 8% were undecided.
Buyers should also be prepared for a different shopping experience.
In a company known for its personal interaction, the pandemic forced many retailers to put much of the process online in March and April as downtime and orders remain at home.
"We saw that 50% of the dealers and 70% of the inventory on Cars.com was presented as a digital sale with home delivery and a virtual appointment," said Mays. "In many cases, the documents can be signed online, but this depends on the location."
Even if the car dealership is open, they don't want crowds of people there.
Executive Director of Insights at Edmunds
And while many retailers have reopened their showrooms as local regulations allow, it's worth calling ahead if you want to go there as you may need to make an appointment.
"Even when the car dealership is open, they don't want to see swarms of people," said Caldwell.
The offers depend on the manufacturer and model. For example, Nissan is offering a $ 6,000 discount on certain versions of its Murano, a crossover SUV that starts at $ 31,530. The 2020 Ram 1500, a full-size truck priced at $ 32,145, offers discounts of up to $ 6,300 on certain models. In the sedan category, the discount on the Ford Fusion (starting price $ 23,170) is $ 2,500.
You may also be able to sign a good finance contract. While the average annual new car loan percentage is 4.2%, consumers with high credit could get a 0% rate. In June, these deals accounted for 19.4% of all newly funded deals, according to Edmunds.
Some of these loans have a term of up to seven years, which could put buyers in a difficult situation if they want to sell or trade the car and owe more than it is worth – that is, through so-called negative equity.
"With 0% funding, a six- or seven-year loan could make sense for a responsible buyer," said Caldwell. "But for many Americans, the risk of longer loan terms to justify their larger vehicle purchases could pose a higher risk of negative equity in the future."
The share of new sales with a trade-in with negative equity was 44% in April, after less than 35% in the previous year, as studies by Edmunds show. The average amount of negative equity was $ 5,571.
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Auto lenders also seem to be tightening credit. Caldwell said the percentage of people paying 10% or more on their loans – generally those who are less creditworthy – is falling.
"This tells me that they are either denied the purchase or that there are fewer people in this category who are trying to buy a car," said Caldwell.
Also make sure you compare the dealers. While they generally all grant the manufacturer's discount, they can give you a better trade-in offer, lower interest rate on your loan, or other benefit.
Even when you've found the best deal, there is another number to focus on: the "outdoor" price.
"This amount includes all taxes and fees and you should negotiate this number," he said.
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