The impact of COVID-19 is tending to throw up more questions than answers. Here is an example of some of the questions we are being asked at carsales.com.au regarding the impact of COVID-19 on car buying.
For more information on COVID-19 and advice on social distancing practices, we encourage you to visit https://www.health.gov.au/
Are car dealerships open for business?
Many Australian new and used car dealerships are still open for business… And our onsite research indicates that many Aussies are still keen on parking a new-to-them car in their driveway.
Most car dealerships have responded well to the COVID-19 precautions suggested by government and many are able to provide electronic opportunities via carsales and other vendors.
One of the latest features to be rolled out on carsales are seller badges, which allow sellers to include extra information about the virtual buying services offered on individual stock for sale items.
Services that can be highlighted include: home test drives; video call or tour; buy from home facilities; and more. Dealers also have the ability to flag phone deposits, prompt response, guaranteed appointment and other offerings.
Look out for these badges while browsing carsales and don’t be afraid to ask the seller about these options.
Is it safe to visit a car yard or showroom?
It’s common sense to take precautions (more so if you are in an at risk group) but there are no reasons why a visit to a car yard or dealership should expose you to any more risk of contracting COVID-19 than a trip to the shops – and car dealers still have stock on the ‘shelves’.
If you have any doubts, check with the dealership via telephone or email regarding the COVID-19 precautions it has taken. And if you’re concerned about a long say away from home, perhaps ask for a fixed appointment time.
Remember too, that you can do the majority of your car research and shopping online at home via carsales.com.au.
Am I safe test driving a car?
It’s important to take proper precautions before test driving a car. Ask the dealer what precautions they have taken to ensure the car is safe and clean. Failing that, here are some measures you can take to minimise the risk.
- Consider cleaning the vehicle with an alcohol-based disinfectant or wipes before you drive it.
- Ideally wear gloves while cleaning it and test the cleaner on an out of the way area of the interior before you launch into the main dash. Avoid overly harsh cleaners (ie: bleach).
- The touch points you should target in the vehicle include the key fob, steering wheel, transmission shifter, door handles and other places you’d normally touch such as the volume knob or heating controls. Don’t forget the indicator and wiper stalks!
- Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson to stay at the dealership or failing that get them to sit in the back to observe the social distancing recommendations (do so also in the dealership).
- Consider the normal safety steps we advise for buyers test driving cars. And don’t forget, you actually need to work out whether the vehicle suits you -- so watch our guide to test driving.
- Act responsibly. If you or someone in your household is feeling unwell, do not visit a dealership or arrange meetings with sellers – stay at home until you have fully recovered.
Should I buy a car sight unseen?
The key is to do your research first. Make sure you look hard at the pictures that accompany the carsales ad and if you need more, then ask the dealer. Many carsales dealers are also posting video of their cars for sale, so look at that too.
Consider asking the seller for an initial inspection or 360 degree walk-through via video instead of a physical meet up – WhatsApp or FaceTime can help with this.
Dealers also have the ability to have third-parties appraise and value your trade-in… It’s a brave new world!
Will a dealer bring a car to me to test drive or for delivery?
The good ones will bring a car to you to test drive – as long as you present as a serious buyer.
Ask the question, politely, and make a time that’s reasonable for both parties… Remember, dealership staff are facing the same personal challenges as you.
If you’re buying a car, new or used, it’s fair a reasonable to expect it to be delivered. That is unless, you live in Melbourne and are buying the car in Perth – on that occasion, you may be asked to foot the bill.
Will COVID-19 effect waiting lists and delivery times for new cars?
This is a hard question to answer briefly. Because, well… Frankly, it varies across make, model badge, country of manufacture, and so on…
There are no shortage of new cars for sale at Australian dealerships, right here and right now – in some cases, an embarrassment of riches. In other cases there are long and growing waiting lists.
Most, if not all European and North American plants/manufacturers have announced some form of production line stoppages or go slows. These will inevitable affect availability on popular models and will affect delivery times.
COVID-19 measures have also slowed the official launch of new cars, which in some cases will also delay on sale dates. In short, ask you dealer – and if the date matters, make the purchase conditional upon a delivery date.
Remember to protect yourself online: As always, it’s important to be cautious when transacting online. Before giving out your personal identification or banking information, be sure that the buyer and/or website is legitimate. Visit our safety hub for more information and scams to look out for.