The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone across the globe. Times, unfortunately, have changed for the worse, and so has the world as we know it. Our health and safety have taken precedence over everything else, and this holds true for the way we commute as well. While working from home is the best solution to avoid travel, not everyone has that option. In these difficult times, commuting via public transport puts one at the risk of coming in contact with infected people and/or infected surfaces. To maintain social distancing, one should be avoiding commuting using public transport.
So, is this the right time to purchase a car? Well, the most accurate answer to this is that the right time to buy a car is when you absolutely need it. In financial terms, a car is considered more of a liability than an asset, however, given the times we are in, purely in utilitarian terms, a car adds up to be more of an asset considering the safety it offers to you and your family. With the pandemic raging on with no signs of abating anytime soon, we can safely say that owning a private vehicle has become more of a necessity than a luxury. With that having been established, the next question that arises is how to get one in these trying times. Well, as always, the most important aspect to consider is your budget, as there are new and used cars available in almost all budget ranges. One needs to set a budget, preferably on the conservative side, and see which car fits it and fulfils the needs to a large extent. Another important thing to consider is the cost of ownership.
Buying a New car
Post the first COVID wave, the Indian car market witnessed a sudden surge in demand and the sales numbers for almost all the manufacturers went northwards. However, the manufacturers were not able to keep up with the pent-up demand. The high demand also led to the manufacturers increasing the prices of their vehicles by 2%-5%. Since the demand is high, brands are not offering any offers or discounts on their most popular models. Also, a lot of cars have waiting periods as long as 9-10 months. One would need to consider all these aspects while making a purchase decision. This does not, however, mean that you will not be able to buy a car. There are few models which are readily available, but these aren’t the hot sellers. You can also reach out to dealers to find out if they have any unsold stock of slightly older cars. Most dealers want to clear out their stockyard as soon as possible and if you are lucky, you might be able to negotiate a good deal on some of the slightly older, unsold vehicles. Manufacturers update their best-selling models every year or two. During the transition period, both the outgoing and new models are on sale. One can find great deals on the outgoing models since people generally opt for the latest models. If there are no significant changes in the newer models and you don’t mind getting the previous version, you could save up on a few bucks for sure. At the end of the day, you will get a brand-new car.
Buying a Used car
Let’s face it, buying a new car is a big financial decision for an individual. During this pandemic, a lot of people have faced the closure of businesses, pay cuts, no increments, etc. The market isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. If you don’t want to spend a huge sum on the privilege of owning a new car, you could consider buying a used car as well. The painstaking task, in this case, is to find a “good used car”. Thankfully, there are a lot of platforms you can buy a used car from. Many companies dealing in used cars offer a warranty on these cars as well. Though they do charge a premium since they do their checks and repairs, it is still much cheaper than buying a new car. Also, having a warranty gives one peace of mind, for the next year or so, at the very least. The best part is that there is no waiting period while buying a used car, as you do not need to wait for the production or registration process. You get the car as soon as you pay for it. You can also get one on an EMI plan if you don’t want to pay the full amount up-front.
To conclude, if you or your family needs to commute daily or few days a week, purchasing a car makes a lot of sense during these uncertain times. To survive the “new normal”, ensuring safety is paramount and having a personal vehicle eliminates the possibility of getting infected while commuting in public vehicles. Just make sure that the car you’re opting for doesn’t stretch your finances, and look for a used car if a new unit won’t fulfil your requirements for a given budget.