In May 2019, the 13 largest global car manufacturers sold nearly 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. A year later, TrueCar forecast a 32% decline in monthly sales.
With a glut of cars, here’s how to car-shop smart:
• Gotta have new? Focus on 2019 models clogging lots. With automakers shutting down production during the eye of the coronavirus storm, there may not be a huge backlog of unsold 2020 models. The consumer car-buying website Iseecars.com recently took a spin through the marketplace and identified models with the highest inventory: 66% of 2019 Dodge Grand Caravans remain unsold. Other 2019 models where more than 40% of inventory remains unsold include the Dodge Journey, Nissan Titan, Ford Ranger and Audi Q7.
• Don’t let a zero-rate deal cause you to overborrow. Dealers are dangling an alluring deal for qualified new-car buyers: no-interest loans. According to Edmunds, more than 25% of new-car sales made in April that involved a loan had a permanent rate of 0%. Paying no interest is obviously a great opportunity, but if it entices you to spend more on upgrades, then you are not really gaining much. If you are a serial new-car buyer, you are setting yourself up for having more unpaid debt on your next trade-in.
• Consider the smarter move: Buy used. As good as the deals for new cars look, they are collectively a lousy financial move.