Not only is buying a car during the coronavirus crises possible, but it can also bring some surprising benefits into the mix.
Across the UK, new and used car dealerships have been struggling to shift inventory for almost an entire year. The same can also be said for the private second-hand car market, which more or less ground to a halt back in February.
The result – enormous deals and discounts as incentive for people to purchase the vehicle they are after. As the coronavirus crisis isn’t going away overnight, the same deals and discounts are expected to stick around for a good few months at least.
On the downside, buying a car without any in-person contact isn’t an easy job. Nor is being completely confident that the seller regards health, safety and hygiene to the same extent you have.
Buying a car safely during the coronavirus crisis isn’t out of the question, but calls for a fair amount of care and attention.
Here’s what the pros have to say about staying safe (and sensible) when shopping for a car right now:
You can save yourself a lot of time at the dealership (or elsewhere) by building a comprehensive picture of the car you want in advance. Head online and decide on the make, model, trim that suits your needs and your budget.
Even if it’s possible, it’s inadvisable to simply head down to the dealership at a random time and date. Instead, book an appointment by phone. And while doing so, seek assurances that there will be minimal other people on the premises at the time.
You’ll probably want to try out the car you’re thinking of buying, so it’s worth asking about the dealer’s test-drive policies. This should include allowing you to test-drive the vehicle on your own, which will have been extensively cleaned and sanitised beforehand.
This is a facility offered by some of the UK’s more customer-focused dealerships, which negates the need to visit their premises entirely. Instead, the car you’re interested in is delivered to your home for you to test-drive at your convenience.
You’ll inevitably find yourself at the dealership at some point, so you’ll need to take their approach to health and safety into account. Social distancing, hand washing, provision of hand sanitizer and so on – all signs you’re working with a responsible and reputable dealer. Anything to the contrary and it might be better to take your business elsewhere.
Last up, additional precautions should be taken when purchasing a car privately during the coronavirus crisis. Private sellers may or may not practice the same level of hygiene as an established and reputable dealer, so it’s important to be mindful of the risks involved. Particularly as a test drive may be completely out of the question, unless you’re willing to share the ride with the seller (not a good idea!).