Coronavirus: Can I still buy a car?

Buying a car purely online is a relatively new concept. One of the best parts of it – particularly given the current climate – is that there are thousands of new and used vehicles out there available to browse, all from the comfort of your own home.

But, should you need a new car during the coronavirus pandemic, is it still possible to get one? And what processes are in place to ensure that the whole experience remains safe? We’ve been investigating to find out.

Browse away

Browsing for a new car is one of the best bits of the entire process. As we’ve already mentioned, there are thousands of cars available to view via the internet, allowing you to check them out without having to leave the house.

Of course, going online limits the amount of exposure you get – so make the most of it. Check out car postings, read reviews and research as much as you can.

Pick a car

It’s come to the crucial point – it’s time to choose a car. Thankfully, the whole process from here – for many outlets – can be managed entirely online. James Hind, CEO of Carwow, told the PA news agency that the firm ‘is this week adding additional functionality to the website so buyers can see which dealers will offer home test drives, to help consumers who may be worried about visiting the showroom’.

Caucasian girl working on computer laptop

Visiting a dealership doesn’t put you at any more risk than any other public space, but you should still follow NHS safety guidelines. And of course, if you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms or belong to an at-risk group, then you should stay at home.

However, if you want to visit a dealership to see a car you still can. It’s all about making a sensible decision and limiting your distance from other people.

Is it possible to buy a car without entering a dealership?

In fact, it is. This system was already ramping up prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but it’s likely to become even more popular. Erin Baker, Auto Trader editorial director, told PA that “Increasing numbers of car brands are offering the public an online buying experience, where you can do the entire thing – part-exchange your car, sort finance, purchase the new one and have it delivered to you – without leaving your home.”

Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar is one of a number of retailers offering online services

According to Auto Trader, at the time of writing Jaguar, Land Rover, Hyundai, Volvo, Dacia, Peugeot, Mercedes and Kia were all offering an online buying service.

A spokesperson for Cazoo told PA that ‘Cazoo is continuing business as normal as our service allows consumers to purchase our cars entirely online in much the same way as buying any other product today.

‘We own all our cars and recondition them fully before offering them for sale and delivering them to customers’ doors in a convenient two-hour delivery slot, and our handover process has been adjusted to be done at a safe distance in the current climate. Every car comes with a full seven-day money-back guarantee, destined to replace the seven-minute test drive at a dealer, and includes free comprehensive 90-day warranty and roadside assistance.’

Can I still sell my car?

If you were looking to sell your car privately, then it’s more than likely that you’ll have to wait longer for a sale. With people being asked to distance themselves from one another, there’s a good chance that most people will want to steer clear of an in-depth test drive. Plus, we’ve always promoted that you should stay with the car when it’s being test driven by another person – and this goes against the current government guidelines.

However, you could part-exchange your car against a new vehicle which would speed up the process. As we’ve mentioned, many places can do this via the internet too.

If I order a new car, will it be delayed?

With plants shutting down across the world, the likelihood is that if you do opt for a brand-new car then its delivery will be delayed. With logistics operations being slowed across the board, there’s a good chance that even if your car has been built successfully then it’ll take a bit more time to reach you.

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