Intro to buying cars online during the coronavirus pandemic

16 June 2020

Written by Josephine Lategan

 

If the Covid-19 pandemic has proven one thing, it’s that a car is a real blessing in a socially distant world. From drive-through testing to drive-through shopping, the car has become a moving safety bubble.

The pandemic also burst the car sales bubble. In early April, News24 noted that SA car sales had dropped by a third; and at the beginning of May, IOL showed that domestic car sales were down 98.4 % and SA car exports by 97.3%. That might be good news for you.

dotsure.co.za Business Intelligence Executive, Glen Anderson, thinks it’s not a bad time to buy at all. “Dealers are doing CRAZY financing deals now,” he says, “and there’s the lower interest rates.”

He’s talking about the recent repo with credit interest rates cut by 40% so far in 2020. This can be good news for car shoppers as MegaTrends told Moneyweb in May that the repo means “lower repayments on all other forms of credit, including car finance.”

It’s also a good time to buy because cars are set to become more expensive in the near future. That’s from BusinessTech and the Sowetan Live who explain that global markets and the rand value are wobbling in response to the pandemic’s impact on production, distribution, demand, supply, and stock trade across the world.

If you want to spend less cash than you might outside of the current financial uncertainties, you could downgrade (for a time). Dropping a price bracket to pay less for a vehicle may mean fewer bells and whistles but it also lowers your bills. Then again, you could also consider buying a second-hand car. Or do both! BusinessTech mentions that used cars, especially, are seeing renewed interest at the moment.

“This supports some forecast analysis of a trend for consumers to buy down into the used car market in order to reduce the size of their car repayments and mobility budgets,” Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank, told BusinessTech at the start of June. So maybe it’s not new, but new to you.

If you want to take advantage of the lower interest rates and mega deals to keep rolling without spending too much, or to limit your dependence on public transport (and the higher risk of being exposed to Covid-19), it seems the best way to start your hunt for the perfect car is digitally!

Browsing cars online is not novel, and neither is virtual test driving. Thanks to advances in technology that unlocks virtual and augmented reality, you can superimpose that dream Porsche onto your driveway, and what the car interior you’re sitting in would look like in other colours, all from the comfort of your phone, laptop or tablet.

 

DYK that you can buy your next set of wheels online?

Gregory Jones, Dealer Sales Manager at dotsure.co.za, points out that even before the lockdown, car buyers here in South Africa could “view a car on AutoTrader or a similar website like cars.co.za, chat to a salesperson over WhatsApp, and email the application.”

Many savvy shoppers like to test drive a car they have their eye on. But even if all the hygiene guidelines are followed to the T so you’re more comfortable entering a car someone else may recently have sat in, you may not be able to do so at a dealership due to limits on floorspace or stock. Not with Digi Cars. They’re “actively pushing the digital buying experience,” Jones highlights. Visit their Sandton showroom to remotely test drive one of their virtual reality cars after Pepper, the robot, hands you a coffee. They can help fast-track your financing with a reputable bank, and their exchange policy is worth checking out, too.

 

How to buy a car online in 3 easy steps:

  1.  Register – Create a profile with a username, password, personal details, payment details, etc. Keep this info safe.
  2.  Browse – Search for the set of wheels you want. You can search by brand, model, price, dealer, dealer offers, motor groups, and more. Cars.co.za lets you sign up for car alerts. Autotrader.co.za has a vehicle check option. Both have specials, car news and reviews, as well as a favourites list.
  3.  Buy – Once you have chosen a car, it’s time to commit. Platforms may offer you financing options, and purchase processes may differ. Some may require you to pay in person, others invite you to do so online through a secure third party software. The vehicle may be delivered to your door or a pickup point of your choice.

Warning: charlatans, con artists and unethical hackers are taking advantage of the Covid-19 climate to swindle money and more out of unsuspecting consumers. Using a reputable website for online buying is a good way to avoid scams. And also:

• Avoid sellers offering outrageously good deals that are hard to believe.
Some sites will check an engine number for you to verify that the car is not listed as stolen (and you can do it, yourself, here).
• If you’re paying online, the platform should use secure software for it.
• It’s not just the transaction you want to be careful about – the most-tested and most-awarded antivirus software maker, Kaspersky, warns that your personal info is also valuable, and vulnerable. Make sure your devices are protected, don’t leave (password protected) emails about the purchase open on your (password protected) device. Don’t give your private details out to strangers unnecessarily.

 

Once you have your new wheels, remember to protect them with dotsure.co.za car insurance! Get a Name Your Price™ quote in seconds here!

 

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Check out the most dangerous cars on the road here and view these amazing features. 

 

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