How to buy a new car during COVID-19

February 23, 2021

While the automotive industry is slowly picking up from the 2020 slump, it continues to adapt to new regulations and market conditions. According to the Global Automakers of Canada, automakers reported auto sales volumes that were off 20% compared to 2019. This dip in sales was brought about by the emergency measures enacted when the pandemic first broke.

If you want to buy a new car in COVID times, here’s what you need to know about how the car buying experience has changed.

How to buy a new car during COVID-19

[Photo Credit: puhhha]

Is it a good time to buy a new car?

The short answer to this is that it depends on your financial situation. While car prices have remained relatively unchanged, the global economy is still uncertain. So, consumers must remain judicious over their purchases. If you are financially sound, and already saved for a new car,  2021 is a good year to buy.

What kinds of deals and incentives are available?

To attract new car buyers, dealers are offering significant discounts and low financing rates. Toyota offers financing rates as low as 0.49% while Ford offers employee pricing and special rebates on popular vehicles. Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, and Nissan all offer 0% financing on some of their models. Luxury carmakers like BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and others offer finance rates as low as 0% and special pricing on remaining 2020 stock and 2021 models of SUVs, crossovers, and electric vehicles.

Ready to buy your next vehicle? Let YP find a new car dealer near you


Why buy a new car during a pandemic?

With the continued spread of COVID-19, including new, more contagious variants, many people are choosing to buy a new car as an alternative to taking public transit, taxis, or ride-hailing services. Driving your own vehicle ensures you can safely social distance, something that’s hard to do when riding a crowded subway or bus. Survey data from indicates one in 10 first-time car buyers say they made the purchase because of pandemic-related health concerns.

What is the car-buying process like in the New Normal?

Car dealers have implemented new policies and a buying process that accommodates new consumer preferences and makes transactions as safe as possible for car buyers. Even with strict health protocols implemented in showrooms, most consumers still prefer to stay at home and avoiding social interactions. To engage with such consumers, many new car dealerships in Canada have created buy-from-home programs. Here’s how these contactless services work:

  • Automotive retail goes digital

Just as you can shop online for a pair of jeans, you can now purchase a car through online platforms. This means you can complete the entire buyer’s journey online from choosing the right car and features, to trade-in appraisal, price negotiation, securing financing, and scheduling delivery.

  • Take a virtual car tour

Those who are wary of visiting a car dealership in person can request a virtual walk-through of car models they are considering. Check the website of car manufacturers for virtual tours of their latest cars, or request a video call from your local car dealer to see the vehicle in real time.

  • Showroom visits

If you prefer going to the showroom, call to schedule an appointment and understand the current health and safety protocols. Employees and customers are required to wear masks. Frequently touched surfaces are sanitized regularly, and social distancing is implemented.

  • Safer test drives

Most dealers now allow test drives unaccompanied by a sales representative to minimize contact. You can also request an at-home test drive where a dealer cleans and sanitized the car, then drops the vehicle off at your location. Before the pandemic, this type of white-glove service was only available for an additional fee.

  • Delivery or pick-up service

Once you have purchased the car of your choice, you can opt for curbside pickup or home delivery. This makes the turnover contactless and safer for everyone.

Although Canadians have long been browsing for new cars online, the global pandemic has accelerated the industry’s digital shift in auto sales. With more consumers now preferring to make new car purchases from home, car dealers and manufacturers will likely continue to develop new ways to make it easy to buy a new car online during COVID-19, and beyond.

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