The car industry has had a rather challenging and fraught year as a result of the pandemic, especially with so many regulations and restrictions stopping people from being able to buy a car for a large percentage of the year. With restrictions easing up, what might buying a car look like in 2021?
Many dealerships improved their online presence during the pandemic by setting up virtual showrooms that will allow people to browse stock, ask questions and even buy cars. While it will be allowed for people to visit showrooms in 2021, you can expect a lot of business still to be done online as it is safer, easier and more convenient.
As of April 12th, you can visit a car showroom but it will be quite a different experience to pre-COVID-19. Much like going to the supermarket, there will be various rules in place such as wearing a mask at all times, socially distancing and there being a limit on how many people can be inside at any one time (many will run on an appointment system). In terms of test drives, it will be at the dealership’s discretion but they may be unaccompanied and you may have to pay a deposit to take the test drive.
Click & Collect/Deliver
For those that decide to order a car online, many dealers offer a click and collect/deliver service that will be contact-free, safe and easy. This would be unthinkable just a few years ago, but the pandemic has drastically changed people’s shopping habits and this will be common in 2021 and likely beyond.
Adapting to Buyer Preferences
The customer is always right, but moving forward car dealerships are going to have to pay even more attention to buyer preferences and behaviours. Car dealerships will be desperate to get back to normal, but it is the consumers that have the power and dealerships need to provide the best possible experience for them. Keep in mind that many people will be hesitant to make large purchases or could be worse off, so not everyone will be looking to buy.
The pandemic could also impact car insurance as motorists will want to do all that they can to protect their investment during such uncertain times. This means that optional policies like GAP insurance could rise in demand as it is a way to get financial protection and peace of mind.
The car industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 and will now be desperate to kickstart the recovery, but it will not be a case of business as usual for dealer-ships and buying a car in 2021 will be a different experience for all.