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How you can buy or lease a car during the pandemic

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Posted at 12:10 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 12:10:56-04

While many of us aren’t driving the same number of miles as we used to, we may still need a car.

So what happens if—for one reason or another—you need to buy a vehicle during the coronavirus pandemic? As Consumer Reports explains, you may actually be able get a great deal on a new or used car right now.

Dealers are stuck with a huge backlog of unsold vehicles that they’re desperate to get off the lot, and they’re offering some aggressive financing incentives to entice buyers. This isn’t just on last year’s models; there are big savings across a wide range of makes and models. The discounts vary.

CR was able to find a 2020 Toyota Camry for $2,600 off the asking price, a 2020 Ford F-250 with a $500 discount, and a 2020 Infiniti Q50 for $8,000 off the suggested retail price. And zero percent financing has become an industry standard practically overnight. If you’re willing to forgo a test drive, it’s likely you can have a completely contactless car- buying experience.

Consumer Reports says that’s because a number of websites and dealerships have digital platforms that allow consumers to select a model, color, and trim level, and even negotiate the price of a trade-in, all from home. Some dealers will even deliver the car. There are deals to be had on used cars as well, whether you buy pre-owned from a dealership or a private seller.

The supply of used cars out on the market will certainly outstrip demand, and this will likely continue over the next few months.

So even if you’re not ready to buy now, you’ll probably be able to save big on any vehicle purchase for the foreseeable future.

If your car lease is about to expire, CR has this advice: Not everyone is going to be comfortable starting a new lease right now, so reach out to the dealer, because many are waiving fees on lease extensions.

You may be able to stay in the car you’re familiar with for another few months. And keep in mind that however you purchase your vehicle, it’s important you practice proper disinfection techniques on all of the surfaces you might touch on both the inside and outside of it.