Will the pandemic impact how we buy cars long-term?

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The global pandemic has had an extremely negative impact all over the world. The economy has been tanked almost completely. The only things holding it together are the technological fruits that we have come to bear. Online shopping is the one thing that has been holding everything somewhat close. Now with the pandemic subsiding, things are going back to normal. But people have become accustomed to a few things. Will that change or not change?

After the pandemic, cars and electronics have absolutely shot up in price. Not only new cars, but even used cars have shot up in price. You can check the used Ford Edge prices from a year ago and check them now. Every car, either new or old, has shot up in price. However, that is not the point here. The point is the way in which the pandemic has shaped our shopping experience.

You see, whenever you buy a car, you would definitely go to the showroom, have a look around and inspect the car. Then, you would talk about the specifications and features of the car. You would talk about the trim levels. Then, based on your budget, you would choose a car and test drive it. If you love it, then that is great for you. If you don’t like it, you can easily move to the next car; or even go to the next dealership. That is how car buying used to be, right?

But now, that has changed. People are being forced to stay at home. Even those who could go out, are afraid to do so in fear of infection. Because of this, most people have resorted to online shopping. However, you could also shop for cars online. You could book your car, make payments and the car will be delivered to your doorstep. Isn’t that cool and very convenient? This is the way people adopted online shopping for cars.

Online shopping is understandable and fine for new cars. But if you want to own a used car, what about that? Well, luckily, due to the pandemic, some dealerships have also put up used cars for sale online. It would basically be the same experience as buying a new car online, but in this case, it would be a used car. The only issue is the price.

If you aren’t aware, there is a major global semiconductor shortage. Semiconductors are used to manufacture chips that are used in electronics. If you wanted to buy a computer recently, you would have noticed how high the prices of some parts are. This is because of this semiconductor shortage. 

Now, semiconductors are used everywhere. That includes cars too. Big manufacturers are suffering from a severe shortage of chips. The electronics in cars are left incomplete. No one would want to buy a car that has no electronics in the 21st century. Hence, automakers like Ford and GM are forced to create vehicles without the semiconductor chips and store them in their lots, waiting for the chips to arrive.

Such a situation was completely unforeseen. This has severely affected the supplies. But the demand? Well, the demand was already there. In fact, the demand is growing every day. With the demand so high and the manufacturers not being able to meet them, the prices have shot up way higher than usual. The average new car transaction is over $40,000 now, which is a huge bump up. But that is for the new cars. Why are used cars priced high?

Well, when the pandemic hit and lockdown ensued, most rental car companies had to sell off their entire fleet to survive. Now that everything has settled down and people are going out, these companies are trying to make the most of it. They are trying to buy back entire fleets of used cars that they had to sell-off. This is why regular people who want to purchase a used car are not able to do so. Once again, the issue of supply and demand arises and the prices for used cars have shot up significantly over the past year too. Yes, things are very dire for the car market.

But now the question arises, will this continue? Will this way of online shopping continue for cars into the future? We know that things are going back to normal, and people can actually go out now. But just because they can, does it mean they mean? Well, it has a more complicated answer than that. You see, it depends on the person and what they view as convenient and a more reliable method of purchasing. Online shopping has both its advantages and disadvantages.

If you are shopping for a car online, you can review the car and buy it from the comfort of your home. You do not even need to leave your home. This would not expose you to any danger, or specifically, the virus, and you can easily get your car too. However, there are perhaps more disadvantages. Online shopping for a product like a car is not always feasible. You must be in the showroom, see and feel the car for yourself. Check everything and see how it actually is in real life. You essentially get to choose and pick your own favorite car out of the bunch. Also, the biggest advantage is that you can actually test drive the car and see for yourself if it will suit your needs.

So, online shopping of cars perhaps presents itself with more disadvantages than advantages. However, dealerships are willing to change that. They are now offering you the option for the car to be delivered to your home, so that you can test drive it for yourself and get a look and first-hand feel of the car. If you do like it, then you can easily purchase it. Ordering a car is easier than ever.

So, to answer the question, yes, the pandemic will surely impact the way we buy cars in the long run. However, there is no guarantee. People will still need to feel the car and test drive it before they decide to purchase it. So, if dealerships are willing to allow online shopping with such modifications, such as allowing for a test drive, then they might as well see their online sales rise. But going to the showroom and being able to choose and pick your own car from a fleet of cars will still remain prevalent. It is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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