Advice

Can I still buy a new car during the coronavirus lockdown?

Time 11:01 am, April 1, 2020

Buying a new car during the coronavirus crisis has become a very difficult thing to do – but for some key workers there may be a need to change their car.

Can you order a new car during the coronavirus crisis? And if you do, will it even be delivered? Well, here we try to explain how some dealers are operating.

In this post, designed to keep customers informed and for those in the motor trade to share with their customers, we take a look at the market for new cars and how it is managing to operate during this difficult time.


Can I buy a new car during the crisis?

While the ability to visit a dealer and physically get to grips with the model you’re looking at – either just jumping in the driver’s seat to get comfortable or taking a test drive – has been taken away for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean that dealers aren’t contactable. 

Many firms and main dealers still have a skeleton staff working from home – answering calls, picking up emails, and are there if you need them.

If you had also finalised your car beforehand, or have decided exactly what you want, some dealers may be able to take orders over the phone. Audi, for example, says that it’s still accepting orders for its new models via its dealers. 


Ok, I understand I can order a new car but will I actually get it delivered?

Probably not.

Dealers are finding it very hard to operate as they have been closed by the government – and they could be closed from anywhere from three to six months, depending on the lockdown period the government imposes. This means it is very hard to deliver a new car if you manage to agree a deal on one.

Some delivery companies are managing though and for key workers there are ways and means. We’d advise you talk to your local dealer and explain your situation – if you NEED a new car to do a key worker job, chances are they will do everything they possibly can to help you out.

Can I buy a new car entirely online?

Up until this point, the uptake for online new car sales has been slow – with many buyers still wanting to head into a showroom to touch and experience what they’re looking to buy. But with this capability now being taken away, a dedicated car manufacturer online buying platform and those on many dealer websites, can be an easy way of buying a new car. 

Firms such as Dacia, Mitsubishi and Peugeot all offer online buying services, which enable you to individually configure a new car, or choose one from available group stock from the comfort of your own home in a matter of minutes.

Most of these online platforms still utilise dealers to help process the cars and deliver them. So, while you’re still able to buy a new car during the pandemic, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to have it delivered until things settle down. 

Many dealers have online sales solutions too and are now using other ways to sell cars – from phone calls, FaceTime to WhatsApp. We’d say contact your local dealer and ask them what they can do to help make it work. However, don’t be surprised if many simply can’t assist at all during this time.

Are dealers able to deliver my new car?

The issue of vehicle delivery is a contentious point, because under government guidelines ‘online retail is still open and encouraged… delivery services will run as normal’.

However, there are some blurred lines with this. Though if someone’s desperate for a new car and an essential worker, having transport is a necessity, so exceptions can be made.

Many dealerships are still offering delivery services to allow them to continue selling cars. Meanwhile, sites such as Carwow are offering a ‘Delivery & Disinfection’ remote-buying delivery service – the dealers offering such a service clearly being advertised through the digital platform. 

Obviously all social distancing measures and steps to ensure no transmission of infection is passed on should be taken by the dealer, the delivery firm and the buyer. And if it’s not essential, it’s probably worht delaying it.

Will car factory closures have an affect on new car supply?

Yes. 

With the spread of Covid-19 being a global issue, it’s meant car factories across the world have been forced to close and this has a drastic effect on new car supply for many months.

With European countries – including Italy, Spain and France – being some of the worst hit by this pandemic, it means the bulk of factories in these locations remain closed, and therefore unable to produce new cars.

It’s meant new car orders aren’t being processed – though demand will have been unsurprisingly badly kit by Covid-19 anyway.

The majority of new cars will be delayed by these closures, and it’s worth contacting the manufacturer and dealer to ask about when you can expect for your new car to be delivered. Given the uncertainty and unprecedented times, though, they might not know themselves.

Are there many new cars left in the UK I can buy?

There are likely to be a large number of new cars available in stock as many car dealers and manufacturers would have been set up for what is usually a busy plate change month in March.


This will mean there is likely to be cars unsold in compounds so when we do get back to normal, in that immediate recovery period, there will be some supply.

However, it is likely to get far worse before it gets better. This will likely push the prices of used cars up as demand soars. But, this all depends on the state of the economy on the other side of this battle against coronavirus.

Can I get a better deal on a new car during coronavirus crisis?

Unlikely.

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Dealers are struggling because of this crisis just as much as everyone else and people offering to buy cars for ‘cash’ won’t get you a better deal. Most dealerships are only saving orders. Dealers are likely to help you out as best as they can but they won’t be slashing prices on new cars right now with the industry in effective lockdown. 

More: How long will car dealers be closed for?

More: Loads more help and advice articles can be found here

Ted Welford's avatar

Ted Welford is a motoring journalist for Car Dealer's parent company Blackball Media. He writes for a variety of motoring publications and tests the latest cars on a regular basis. He likes cleaning them too.

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