5 On Your Side

Why it's a great time to buy a car

Posted May 14, 2020 3:13 p.m. EDT
Updated May 14, 2020 9:08 p.m. EDT

Unless you're desperate for a new car, buying one is not something most people would think to do in the middle of a pandemic.

But 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte says that's the very reason you might actually be able get a great deal on a new or used car right now.

In April, car sales dipped 50 percent over the same time last year. That puts consumers in the driver's seat.

Backlog of unsold vehicles

"Dealers are now stuck with a huge backlog of unsold vehicles that they are desperate to get off the lot and they're offering some aggressive financing incentives to entice buyers," said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports' Auto Editor.

Some incentives include thousands of dollars off asking prices and zero percent financing.

If you're willing to skip a test drive, it's likely you can have a completely contactless buying experience.

Many dealerships have digital platforms that allow you to select a model, color, trim level and even negotiate the prices of a trade-in, from home.

In addition, many dealerships will even deliver the car to your door.

You can find deals on used cars as well, whether you buy pre-owned from a dealership or a private seller.

And if your car lease is about to expire, Consumer Reports has this advice:

"Not everyone is going to be comfortable starting a new lease right now, so we suggest reaching out to the dealer. Many are waiving fees on lease extensions, so you can stay in the car you're familiar with for the next few months," said Bartlett.

Experts say supply of cars, new and used, will outstrip demand for at least the next few months.

So if you're not ready to buy now, you'll likely be able to save big on any vehicle purchase for the foreseeable future.

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