We recently caught up with Carmen Saunders to discover if now is the right time to buy a car. This is what they said:
“At this point in time, buying a car might be furthest from people’s minds, what with the world still in the throes of a pandemic. Europe, in fact, is now dealing with that dreaded second wave. England also recorded 8,535 inpatients with confirmed Covid-19 on October 28 — up from 472 on September 1.
Alarmingly, cases are doubling every 9 days, just as the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) predicted back in July. And if AMS projections hold true, the peak of this second wave will be worse than that of the first, and will likely happen in either January or February.
Based solely on this grim prognosis, buying a car today doesn’t seem to be advisable — or is it?
In the most perverse of ways, this same pandemic is actually making it advisable to buy a car. Like most other countries ravaged by this worldwide health problem, public transportation in the UK was largely curtailed at the height of the pandemic, with the government encouraging the public to avoid it whenever possible and leaving thousands at a distinct disadvantage in terms of getting around.
Granted, public transportation wasn’t entirely shut down here in the UK, unlike in other countries. In the Philippines, most notably, the Philippine government ordered mass public transport to cease operations for the entire duration of the lockdown imposed in the capital city of Manila and the entirety of Luzon island.
Nearly the same thing happened in India, which was placed under a 21-day total lockdown starting on March 25. UK lockdowns weren’t as extreme, but they were enough to highlight one of the greatest advantages of owning a vehicle: You can pretty much go wherever you want to go without having to rely on public transport.
It goes without saying that anyone who wants to buy their own means of transport should feel free to do so — but only if they have the money for it. The fact is, driving a private vehicle is the most convenient way to travel nowadays, and it is also the safest. Little wonder that car ownership is up, with a recent survey finding out that 93% of people are now using personal vehicles more in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
That figure is likely to increase based on a poll by Cars.com in which 20% of non-car-owner respondents expressed a desire to buy one soon.
That desire is understandable. In a podcast about so-called Covid cars (used cars bought during this pandemic), The Atlantic described cars as ‘the ultimate form of personal protective equipment’, as they can take you places without having to share the same airspace with strangers who might potentially be virus carriers.
This seems an over-reaction, or overkill perhaps, but it is certainly not unreasonable to invest in something that might actually keep you and family healthy and virus-free while travelling.
And with the car market in the midst of a sharp downturn, it is highly likely that car buyers will be able to score some great deals from car dealers, who might be offering discounts or promos to recoup lost revenue.
Even the used car market, where around 2.8 million used cars found new owners from January to June, might be a gold mine for great deals since it is also in a downturn, with sales down by as much as 29% in the first six months of 2020 — incidentally, the height of the pandemic’s so-called first wave. This means used cars marked down prices are probably available still.
Needless to say, it is advisable to buy a car even with the world still in the throes of a pandemic. But again, and this cannot be emphasised enough: people should only buy a car if they have the budget for it. Otherwise, it would be wiser to pass in the meantime.
Article prepared exclusively for inautomotive.com
Written by Carmen Sanders
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