New and Used Car dealers across the nation are having to change their business model on the fly. This is new waters for both buyers and sellers so I have put together this How To Guide on Buying a Car During the COVID-19 Pandemic for anyone looking to purchase a new or used car during this uncharted times. This is a difficult time for everyone to sale the least. We have all had to adjust to keeping a distance, not shaking hands and not going places as often as we were used to. One national car sales company, Carvana, has been doing this for a few years now with great success.

What Are Car Dealers Doing?

Most new and used car dealers here in the St Louis Area are closed for walk-in business. That means by appointment only or online sales only. Service departments are still open but most of them are by appointment only now as well. Dealers are doing everything they can to keep business moving. They are bringing vehicles to peoples’ homes for test drives, they are providing more photos and videos of the exterior, interior and features and options. This is tremendous and almost unheard of over the past 50 years even with website such as AutoTrader, Cars.com, CarGurus and TrueCar. Dealers have relied on the “Build it and they will come” business model for over a century. When COVID-19 came to the U. S. and businesses across the nation had to close up their doors to protect their employees and customers, dealers had to change. That change brought on a big change in the car industry including remote sales paperwork signing, car delivery, and remote test drives. Dealers are even appraising your current vehicle as a trade remotely and picking it up at the time of delivering your new or used car.

How Do I Buy a Car Remotely?

There are a few ways at looking at how to purchase a car remotely. Firstly, you really need to know 100% certain that is the car you want to purchase. Thousands of new and used car buyers every year buy cars from out of state so the dealerships know how to make that work well. The challenge is local customers wanting to buy local cars. Ordinarily dealers’ remote customers are delivered their new or used car states away by truck and end up having little to no recourse after receiving the vehicle. The issue dealers are facing recently is that they will be delivering the vehicle locally and thus a buyer having the easier ability to refuse delivery of the vehicle once it gets to them. The other challenge is that many of the dealerships are using “drivers” or services to deliver the vehicles versus actual sales people so problems are not able to be solved right then and there.

I’ve checked out several of the St Louis area dealerships’ websites. They all seem to have their own way of handling trade-in’s and purchases. Some like Suntrup Ford even already have a rebuilt website and video with how their new sales process will work.

If you are considering making a new or used car purchase during this challenging time NOW is the time to do it. Dealers are slashing prices like never before and the manufactures are offering great incentives and financing options. But don’t get caught up in the deal being so good you can’t pass it up. Make sure you take every opportunity you can to physically inspect your incoming new or used car to make sure it is in the condition as advertised. One way you can do this is by contacting me. I am happy to go out and perform a pre-purchase used car inspection for you.