The COVID pandemic has left nothing untouched. Everything we know about modern life has been changed in some way. Even how we buy cars is different now. Thanks to what COVID did to the supply chain and consumer demand, buying a new or used car in 2022 will look a lot different than it did in 2019.

5 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed Car Buying

For the record, the pandemic has not changed our business model. Our cash for cars in Los Angeles works the same as it always has. The same with cash for cars in San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and so on. Contact us if you are looking to sell your used car quickly and for the best possible price.

While you are thinking on that, we can talk about the five ways car buying has been affected by COVID. It all starts with the sudden drop in demand new car dealers experienced in spring of 2020.

1. Stalled Sales

It was March 2020 when Washington told us we needed to shut down in order to flatten the coronavirus curve. The initial lockdown was only supposed to last fifteen days. We know how that turned out. During those first few months, dealers stopped selling cars and manufacturers stopped building them. Everything ground to a screeching halt.

Manufacturers also canceled orders for parts, which turned out to be a bad move. The point is that all this was done based on the belief that the pandemic would end in short order and life would go back to normal. That did not happen.

When the world did start to reopen during the summer of 2021, people suddenly wanted new cars. Dealer inventories quickly ran dry. In the meantime, automakers were not back up to speed. Social distancing and other restrictions prevented full production. Things were exacerbated by a shortage of semi-conductors.

It wasn’t until near the end of 2021 that production began to reach pre-COVID levels. But a lot happened leading up to that point. That brings us to where we are now.

2. Higher Prices Across the Board

We are now in a situation where car prices are higher across the board. It is not just brand-new cars or the most expensive luxury models. Even used cars are selling for premium prices. The reason is simple: supply hasn’t caught up with demand.

Demand is so strong right now that you can forget about going into a dealership and haggling over the price. It is not going to happen. Your dealer is going to offer you a price that you can take or leave. If you decide to walk away, it’s no skin off their nose. Someone else will show up later that day and take the car off their hands.

The good news is that eliminating haggling goes both ways. You can name your price when trading in a used car. Of course, your price has to be within reason. Ask anything close to Blue Book value and the dealer won’t blink. They need that used car as much as they need you to buy a new one.

3. Buying Cars Online

Another profound car-buying change ushered in by the pandemic is buying online. Sure, a minority of consumers were happy to buy online before, but this is different. Purchasing online is more popular than ever. Furthermore, larger numbers of consumers do not even want to visit a dealer anymore. They want to order online, arrange financing online, and wait for their cars to be delivered to their doors.

This new online trend has led to another shift: more consumers pre-ordering new cars in advance. As long as they are going to purchase online, they are going to pre-order the car they want with all the options. If they have to wait a few months for the car to arrive, so be it. At least they will get what they want.

This is all well and good for dealers. Why? Because online purchases are more profitable. More people buying online means fewer commissions paid to sales representatives. It means spending less on overhead at the dealership. It also means that managers do not have to haggle either. Many of them don’t like it any more than customers do.

4. Selling Cars Online

Selling online has been a trend for quite some time now. But it has shifted with the pandemic. That shift is the direct result of a number of new online dealerships that exist exclusively in the cyber sphere. They don’t have physical locations customers can visit. So anyone looking to sell a car must do it online.

Selling online works much the same way. You bring up an app or visit a website. You enter the relevant information in order to generate a quote. In some cases, you have to furnish pictures of the car. If you accept the quoted price, the dealer sends a truck to your home. Your turn over the car, title, and keys. You get he cash and that’s that.

For the record, Car Fast Cash still sends a representative to your home or workplace in order to physically inspect your car. We want to make sure you get the highest possible price, and we cannot do that without a personal inspection. Needless to say, we don’t mind paying top dollar for late-model vehicles in good condition.

5. Holding on Longer

One final result of the COVID pandemic is that consumers are holding on to their cars for longer. It is not that they don’t want to buy new or gently used, it’s just that there isn’t enough inventory to go around. Consumers are less willing to sell their cars only to find out they cannot replace them with something else. So they hold on to what they have in hopes that supply will stabilize in the future.

All of this because of a virus with an exceptionally high survival rate. COVID has truly changed the way we think and live. It has definitely changed car buying and selling.