Are you thinking of buying a new vehicle or are you worried about owning a car during the COVID-19 crisis? Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk answers the key questions motorists may have.
1. Should you hold off buying a car this year?
During these uncertain times, now might not be the right time for you to make big ticket purchases. But the lockdown is actually a good time to do some research on your next car safely from home. With new car sales falling by 97% in April, we could see big deals on vehicles to encourage motorists to make once dealerships open.
2. Can you still buy a car during lockdown?
The government’s social distancing rules make it difficult right now, but if you need a car for essential reasons it’s reasonable to make enquiries. It’s also expected that some dealerships will begin opening their doors from June. In the meantime, there’s nothing stopping you from shopping around online for your next purchase. Some car sellers may be willing to accept a lower price in order to shift their stock, as demand is very low.
3. Will I be able to test drive a vehicle?
According to the latest government guidelines, car buyers will be able to test drive vehicles, but test drives should be unaccompanied.
4. Is car finance a good option right now?
Whether you’re actively looking to buy a car now or you’re happy to wait until just after lockdown ends, there might be some good news for you if you’re planning on buying your car using a financing agreement. The Bank of England base rate, which influences everything from credit card interest to mortgage rates, is the lowest it’s ever been. This should make the repayments cheaper. So, you might be able to find cheaper deals on cars now than you would have at the beginning of the year.
5. When is the best time to buy?
Choosing the best time of year to buy a car can sometimes save you thousands. COVID-19 has clearly had a vast impact on buying and selling cars, but it’s still worth thinking about some simple ways to help you get the best deal. Many car dealers have sales targets each calendar quarter. So, if you’re looking for a car at these times, especially the end of June and December, you might find that they can offer you a good deal.
February and August can also be a good time to bag a bargain, as sales are usually slower during these months. This tends to be because buyers wait for the new number plates to be released. But be aware, older number plates can make your car look older than it really is. This means that its resale value will go down faster than for cars with ‘newer’ plates.
money.co.uk has launched a dedicated coronavirus hub to support people during the crisis; https://www.money.co.uk/guides/coronavirus
Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press.