The pandemic has changed consumer attitudes towards many things in a matter of months. Everything from how we do our grocery shopping to how we get around the city requires a little more consideration than before.
Montrealers who perhaps never considered buying a car are now exploring their options, reducing reliance on transit and rideshare services. At a time when restrictions are aplenty, having a car allows you the freedom to embark on road trips, discover lush hiking trails, and carry out day-to-day tasks.
A recent survey by Kijiji Autos revealed that the majority of car shoppers (77%) are open to buying now or within the next two to three months. However, it’s important to take your time and consider certain factors before you jump in.
To help simplify the process, we’ve rounded up seven commonly overlooked steps to buying a new car.
Considering your needs
Even though many consumers buy cars to get them from A to B, their personal needs are different, from commuting to work to doing the school run. While you might be tempted to lean towards manufacturers you’re familiar with, it’s more important to assess your needs, and only then look for a vehicle that checks the boxes for size, safety features, fuel efficiency, and comfort.
Making a budget
It’s easy to look at the listing price of a vehicle and assume that your salary will cover it. But you should consider mapping out your budget with some wiggle room before you sign a financing or leasing agreement. Review the overall cost of ownership of the vehicle and how it compares with monthly repayments, mileage requirements, and whether you’ll want to upgrade in the future. Shop around before you make a decision.
Choosing the right dealership
When you have a car or truck in mind, it’s key to find a dealership that offers the services you need. The pandemic has been a learning curve for all businesses, and dealerships are no exception. Norman J. Hébert, vice president and chief operating officer at Groupe Park Avenue, says dealers need to have transparent pricing, digital tools, and access to real-time inventory available online to help shoppers in their research.
“My team is now ready to answer the phones and respond to emails more than ever to adequately meet the needs of our customers this fall,” he explains.
Taking a test drive
The best way to get a feel for a vehicle and discover if it’s the right fit for you is to take it for a test drive around your neighbourhood. This shouldn’t be a ride around the block — take your time and aim for a 45-minute journey in total. To make the most of your time with the dealer, examine the interior, exterior, under the hood, and prepare a list of questions about features, options, and vehicle history.
Select dealerships are offering off-site and on-site test drives during the pandemic. However, Hébert says shoppers are doing as much research and shopping online as possible to avoid coming into a dealership until the very last minute.
Panic-buying a car if a dealership doesn’t have the model you want in stock is not a good move. To avoid this, place an order for the vehicle you’re looking for. Hébert advises shoppers to focus on the products and segments that interest them and to avoid waiting too long to get in touch with a dealership to buy. “Overall, it is a great time to buy a car and ensure your and family’s personal mobility.”
Negotiating a deal
Although a vehicle listing price may read “$20K,” that doesn’t mean negotiation is off the table. To negotiate effectively, start by researching comparable vehicles and pricing and go into your appointment with an understanding of how the year, model, and warranty impact the price. Contact a dealer through the Kijiji Autos app and make an informed offer — without lowballing — to get the best deal.
The current market conditions, Hébert says, are interesting for the consumer as the price of their current car should be less dramatically impacted by depreciation.
Going through all of the paperwork that comes with buying a new car often feels like a massive task, but it’s essential. During the ongoing crisis, you can do almost everything online, including applying for financing, insurance, and registering your car (through a dealership). Here in Ontario, the provincial government has also approved the renewal of driver’s licences and licence plate stickers online, making it easy to organize everything from your sofa.
When you start shopping for a vehicle via Kijiji Autos, you’ll notice featured dealers are offering services to simplify your car-buying journey, such as including home delivery of your new ride. To start exploring your options, download the Kijiji Autos app on the App Store or Google Play.