Vehicle ownership is one of the most significant financial plunges any of us are likely to make. Second only to homeownership, car-buying can be a massive commitment and often essential to our work, recreation and other lifestyle demand.
But ownership dreams have come to a halt during the last year because of the global coronavirus. If you thought of upgrading or buying your vehicle, odds are your plans were delayed or perhaps canceled. With jobs, family and other components of life at risk.
After nearly a year of COVID-19, not much has improved. While vaccines are now available for certain segments of the population, but the economy is still suffering, jobs are still are risk and there’s no end date in sight.
Despite uncertain times, buying a vehicle may still be necessary. If you check your finances with an auto loan calculator and the prospect of owning a new vehicle is doable, now may be an ideal time for several reasons.
A safer way to travel
As social distancing becomes the new norm, the idea of sitting in a cramped subway or another way of commuting during the pandemic doesn’t seem like a good idea, particularly if you’re delaying vehicle ownership. Experts suggest that early measures to keep public transport safe have been successful. Still, it’s a risk many aren’t willing to take.
As such, car ownership could be the ideal solution. It provides the safest possible form of transport for the foreseeable future. While public transport transmission isn’t the best, the in-car risk is substantially better.
Getting ahead of the car-buying crowd
Most businesses suffered in 2020, including the automobile industry. Last March, sales of vehicles globally fell 32 percent from February. It was globally the lowest point in 10 years, according to Standard & Poor’s. Many manufacturers struggling to meet monthly margins.
Car dealerships, in particular, took a hit hard. Twelve percent of consumers surveyed reported they were unable minimum loan requirements since the pandemic hit.
Car manufacturers were asked to manufacture ventilators rather than vehicles. Ford, General Motors and Tesla were among carmakers who stopped making vehicles in favor of personal protection equipment. GM alone was asked to make 30,000 ventilators.
Using China as an example, vehicle sales many soon soar again. When lockdowns were lifted, Chinese vehicle sales increased by 20 percent. But with potential shortages due to ventilation production and port closures, means prices could potentially soar again, As such, buying now while costs are still reasonable is likely wise.
New is the new old
It’s unclear what the post-pandemic car prices will become, but there’s a definite trend — the rising interest in use cars.
Long the go-to for thrifty buyers, used car sales have risen to an astounding monthly average of $21,558 in the second half of last year. Not too long before that, it was just $708 per month. On the surface, this may seem like bad news for your car prospects, but that might not be the case for a few different reasons.
First, comparative new car prices are set to even with or come in lower than the costs of used vehicles. In a roundabout way, that makes it possible to get a bargain right if you know where to look.
The increase in used car costs means you can get a lot for your money. If you’ve got cash to invest, it may be worth it to do it soon.
Dealerships are adapting
Since the public continues to be advised to stay, for many people the idea of going to a car dealership now seems too risky. Car dealerships have certainly struggled during the shutdown, while others have gone out of business.
But the automobile business has adapted with new health guidelines protocol sales staffs and buyers, with only 20% percent allowed to operate in a limited fashion. As a result, online sales are spiking.
With this in mind, have peace of mind and don’t worry about potential safety fears. Most dealerships now have the capacity for buyers to view, purchase and receive their vehicles without in-person contact and with stringent pre-delivery cleaning procedures.
Payment defaults are commonplace
No one purchases a vehicle with the intent to default on a loan, so always check your current finances. During the pandemic, 12 percent of vehicle owners are struggling to meet minimum payments worldwide.
To help ease the financial hardship, late fees have been put on hold across the industry. Buyers are given the option to defer payments for up to 120 days. Interest rates still creep up during this period, so it’s worth considering if that’s worthy. If you don’t mind paying for it later, though, there’s no reason why you can’t get start your car ownership journey sooner than later
We all need a boost
Now may also be the time to dismiss dismal statistics. It was a difficult year and it’s likely tough times are ahead — at least for a while. It may be time to forego logic and make a substantial financial purchase if only for your own well-being. Take the plunge and purchase a vehicle now.
A final word
Of course, times are tough. A big purchase can provide stress or it can be a prudent purchase. Consider all of the circumstances and then make your choice.
Article Last Updated: January 8, 2021.
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