As the beleaguered World Health Organization has declared coronavirus COVID-19 aka the Wuhan virus a pandemic (it’s about time!), consumer confidence is at an all-time low. Industries around the world are shutting down and workers are being sent home to reduce the risk of virus spreading.
Since few industries are as interconnected globally as the auto industry, you might have some questions if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. In this comprehensive post, we will explore how exactly the coronavirus will impact car buyers in 2020 – well – until it becomes hot again and the higher humidity levels and ultraviolet light attack this virus as the do all others.
The China Connection: Fact vs. Fiction
After the coronavirus epidemic shut down auto parts plants in China, automakers, and suppliers across the country have been scrambling to keep production going. With new cases popping up daily across the US cities, some consumers seem to be in no mood to buy cars and trucks.
However, there is another crop of car buyers who think this might be the perfect time to go shopping, due to the insane deals being offered by the suppliers.
So, who is right?
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite the panic among people, the chances of contracting the disease are slight. Of course, you should take measures to prevent the spreading in order to keep yourself and your family safe, but the infection itself is not as deadly as some fear mongers are making it to be.
For starters, nearly 81% of people who get infected with this virus have mild cases of COVID-19. About 13.8% experience severe symptoms and require supplemental oxygen. Data suggests that only around 2% of infected people die from the virus.
The majority of coronavirus fatalities have been people who were older adults or were already suffering from serious health issues.
Considering this, the COVID-19 situation hasn’t made a dramatic impact on car sales in the US as of yet. However, the auto market has significantly slowed down in China, where the coronavirus is hitting the hardest.
Most analysts believe that 2020 will not be as strong as previous years when it comes to car sales. In other words, yes, the whole situation may result in better deals for vehicle buyers.
With that being said, let’s tackle some of the most common questions we get from potential car buyers these days.
Car Buyers’ Safety among the COVID-19 Outbreak
Don’t let the fear of the coronavirus stop you from buying a car. If you are looking to buy a vehicle that meets your needs and a good deal is available on it, go right ahead!
As long as you follow the advice of medical authorities about hand-washing and person-to-person interactions, you’ll be safe.
If you are worried about buying a car that’s made in China, you should know that fewer and fewer vehicles are being built overseas for the US market now. The majority of the popular SUVs and other models are manufactured in America.
And according to the CDC, the coronavirus can’t survive on plain surfaces for long. The infection only seems to spread from people to people, so the probability of your getting the virus from touching a contaminated surface is very low.
Not to mention it takes several weeks and months for a car manufactured in Asia to reach an American dealership. The virus can’t survive on surfaces of products or packaging for such long periods. It is extremely unlikely that anyone in the US would get infected by touching the surface of an imported car.
If you’re still worried about your safety, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the coronavirus when shopping for a car.
Avoid in-person research
Instead of visiting numerous dealerships to comparison financing or deals, do it all online or via phone. Thanks to the internet, you can complete every step of the purchasing process from the comfort of your home, including filling out the loan application.
Almost every dealership has a website these days which you can browse to see their inventory. You can even negotiate the price of your dream car by phone or email. By finalizing the deal this way, you’ll substantially reduce your time in the showroom.
Ask the dealership about possible precautions
Given the delicate times, feel free to ask dealerships what they are doing to protect their clients from the coronavirus. For example, are they deep-cleaning and disinfecting their entire store every day? If you don’t hear the answer you’re looking for, you can take your business to another establishment.
Wash your hands
Don’t forget to follow the CDC’s most important guideline to combat the coronavirus: wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Disinfect your hands thoroughly before visiting the dealership, after completing your test drive, and once again when you get home.
If possible, wear a face mask as well. It will keep you safe in case an infected person coughs or sneezes in your vicinity.
Disinfect before you test drive
Test driving a car is one of the most important – and enjoyable – parts of making the purchase. But the thing with test driving a vehicle is, you don’t know how many people have had their paws on that steering wheel or door handle before you.
So, request the dealer to disinfect the vehicle before you drive. You can even do it yourself with alcohol-based disinfectant wipes if the dealer allows.
Avoid direct contact with the salespeople
Breaking from tradition may not feel very etiquette-y, but your safety comes first! Forget about shaking hands once you have finalized the car deal. And if you find yourself doing just that out of sheer habit, make sure you wash your hands as soon as possible.
If you notice any obviously ill person milling around the dealership, maintain your distance. It’s also a good idea to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you wherever you go.
Vehicle Shortage Might be Imminent
We can’t deny that vehicle supply chains in the country have been disrupted since most companies have sent the workers home to control the outbreak. But it is too early to tell exactly how much of an effect these disruptions will have and which vehicle models will be affected.
There are several vehicle models that are assembled in the US, but their parts come from around the world. These locations include countries that are observing high rates of the coronavirus cases. And since most countries have suspended imports and exports until the situation improves, it is likely that factories will no longer be able to assemble the cars.
Korean automaker Hyundai (who never burdened the American tax payer like GM did by asking for a bailout) is one of the manufacturers that recently shut down factories based in Asia in response to the viral outbreak.
If the buyers’ demand doesn’t go down and countries don’t restart their imports-exports, it could lead to a shortage of vehicles to lease and buy.
Coronavirus = Better Car Deals?
A wise man once said that never let a serious crisis go to waste, and it seems like many American car buyers would agree.
Most notable auto shows, including the Geneva International Motor Show 2020, have been cancelled as many governments have banned or are in the process of banning large gatherings.
If the virus epidemic keeps customers out of the showrooms, dealers might decide to offer lower prices and other incentives to entice the car lessees and buyers. But reports show that even with a growing number of infections, there hasn’t been any significant drop in car sales.
Coronavirus has definitely affected the Asian auto markets but so far, it hasn’t seriously affected the US industry. So, if you’re expecting some special discounts, courtesy of the virus, that’s still a distant reality.
However, car dealerships offer many attractive deals and discounts throughout the year – virus or no virus – which you can benefit from. And lower interest rates have also reduced the costs for payment buyers.
The fundamental rules of car buying are still the same. If you want the best value deals, make sure you seek prices from several different dealerships and take advantage of incentives offered by automakers. And certainly you should consider selling your junk car for cash so that you can use them money towards the down payment of your new vehicle.
Useful Tips to Disinfect Your Car
Whether you have just bought a new car or you are selling your old one, make sure you clean it as thoroughly as possible. Here are a few tips that will completely clean your car from inside out to minimize the unwanted virus and germs from its surface:
Use dish soaps or liquid hand soaps
You may think that alcohol-based soaps and sanitizers might be best for cleaning, but the truth is they don’t work very well for car interiors. Instead, use any good old soap (like Dial), or you can buy automotive cleaning supplies that contain detergent-based solutions.
Use makeup removal wipes for leather interior
For the car interior bits that are made of leather, use makeup removal wipes since they contain moisturizers and will keep the leather soft.
Use leather conditioners
Leather conditioners usually contain surfactants, which are responsible for those lovely suds. But that’s not all they do; surfactants also neutralize the outer layer of coronavirus, making the surface virus-free.
Use bleach for key fobs
To clean the key fobs and other painted surfaces on your car, you should use bleach instead of alcohol-based cleaning agents. Bleach will remove any virus formation from these surfaces without damaging them.
However, don’t use bleach on any other parts of the car like the steering wheel, rear view mirror or shifter. As a general rule of thumb, bleach should be avoided on anything that is not simple plastic.
Selling Your Junk Car for Cash in the Times of Coronavirus
To minimize your chances of getting infected from the coronavirus, use every public facility with caution, regardless of how posh or neat it looks. This includes car dealerships as well as the auto repair shops.
Keep the disinfectant wipes handy, and wipe down all the touch points, such as the door handles, key fobs, and steering wheels.
If you’re looking to sell your used car, disinfect the entire vehicle, inside-and-out, before handing it over. And if you need to get it repaired before selling, don’t be afraid to get it to the repair shop. As long as you follow the CDC’s prevention guidelines, you’re less likely to catch the virus.
Trying to repair your car on your own because of the fear of getting infected from an auto repair worker may end up making the problem worse. (Unless, of course, if you are a pro at auto repairs.) Any vehicle repairs that involve safety systems are best left to skilled professionals.
Another thing to consider is, people are now actively avoiding public transportation due to the viral pandemic. This means non-car owners are looking to buy cars. So, if you are trying to sell your used car or junk car for cash, this might be a very good time to do so!
If you’re still looking sell your junk car for cash and would rather someone else deal with the hassle, you can get in touch with us at Cash Cars Buyer. We will take your used car off your hands so you don’t have to come into contact with potential buyers.
In the final analysis, it is important to remember that tough times don’t last forever. As grim as it all seems right now, coronavirus is not going to last forever (and this situation is being handled much better than the swine flu pandemic in 2009). Remember what they say about hope: it prevails!