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How the car buying process has changed in 2023 Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content. We also allow users to conduct research and compare data at no cost to help you make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this website are provided by companies who pay us. This compensation could affect how and where products appear on this site, including the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. However, this compensation will have no impact on the content we publish or the reviews you read on this site. We do not cover the vast array of companies or financial offers that may be open to you.


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5 min read Published 26 January 2023

Written by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers in navigating the details of borrowing money to purchase an automobile.

Editor: Helen Wilbers Edited by

Helen Wilbers has been editing for Bankrate since late 2022. He values transparent reporting that allows readers to confidently find deals and make the best decisions for their financials. He specializes in auto and small business loans.

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Buying a car can be the second largest purchase many consumers make in their lives. Securing this high-ticket item has historically been a somewhat unpleasant experience that was accompanied by and on the lot of the dealership. However, with the change in normal the pandemic brought, a lot of dealers are embracing the and providing a smoother buying experience. Car buying in 2023 is a hazard and supply chain issues keeping prices up. As consumers, it’s important to use the shifting purchasing process of cars to your advantage. Think about the following ways buying a car could be different in the coming year for both the buyer and the seller. What should you expect when purchasing an automobile this year. As we approach 2023, it is difficult to ignore news of an imminent recession. The economic outlook is based on a 64 percent likelihood of entering a recession this year, as reported by. While the probability of a recession isn’t directly related to a customer’s experience on the lot, the high cost of a car in the absence of a dealership could result in additional discomfort when purchasing the next car. The month of December brought another record-breaking average purchase price for new vehicles, $49,507, according to . But the future is not all doom and gloom, as dealers have gotten a glimpse of the threatening macro-environmental trends. Bankrate interviewed Dave Thomas, director of content marketing and an automotive sector analyst with CDK Global, for insight on upcoming trends this year. Price is still the most important factor when you’re shopping for a vehicle for this coming year, you -like 48 percent of buyers, according to the could be using price as the most important consideration. The time commitment for buying a car is an important consideration for the other half of surveyed consumers, price is most important. This year could be a bit of a roller coaster for drivers, says Thomas. “For consumers, the primary concern will be on interest rates and how to find the one that is within their budget,” he explains. The fact that this “could create somewhat more challenging than it was previously due to the fewer options.” When shopping, you should consider a variety of financing options to make sure that you get the most favorable deal, even with higher costs and higher interest rates. Bankrate tip

Consider the entire of what you will have to cover and in addition to the regular monthly costs.

Low inventory persists When most customers head out to a dealership, they have some idea about the kind of vehicle they want to purchase. But many have come across no inventory of the dream cars they’ve always wanted. During CDK’s six-month , “the number of shoppers finding the car they want in stock hasn’t broken 50 percent,” says Thomas. In addition, inventory is down when compared to the previous year. Even though conditions are improving inventory remains low according to J.D. Power. Low inventory has also resulted in an increase of people who don’t go to the dealer altogether. “Some brands are seeing inventories returning, but most are unique in how many vehicles are available,” Thomas says. This “led to the increase in customers ordering vehicles cars from the factory with the entire process handled by the dealer.” The options to purchase online will increase. The traditional car buying experience hasn’t had any major changes in the last few years and people are used to the drawn-out procedure of purchasing a brand new or used car from a dealer. The shift to online car buying is not an entirely new concept. Many local dealerships have offered online marketplaces to customers who want to browse options prior to visiting the dealership. However, the online shopping experience has become more thorough in recent times. The break that many drivers took from the car buying process due to high prices is also a reason why many people require additional guidance when shopping. So while online shopping is increasing, Thomas explains that “76 percent of those we surveyed said they wanted to take time to fully understand their options,” which is up from the 67 percent of 2021 according to the 2023 . If you’re one of those who did not get on the roads in the past year due to high prices, you can take comfort in the flexibility offered by this model. Dealerships will continue operating While traditional dealerships aren’t likely to disappear in the near future, it has seen shifts since the outbreak. Many motorists are taking advantage of online shopping, especially the time local dealers are unable to fill their lots. Yet 91% of consumers did not go through the traditional process when buying a car in the past year, as per the survey by CDK. In addition, the 9 percent of drivers that did complete their car buying experience completely online didn’t rate the experience highly. With this in mind, it’s a good idea not to miss the real-world experience you can get. But many dealerships are offering customers the most beneficial of approach, with the option to start online and finish at the location. Thomas explained the change. Many of the automakers that have been around for decades are “streamlining the online process and attempting to make the transition from doing part of the journey online into an effortless experience in the store.” Drivers gain by being able to work the figures from the comfort of their home but still get behind-the-wheel experience before signing the documents. Four ways to make use of the internet to your advantage Online buying a car is new, and it requires a bit of learning. While some advice falls in line with traditional car shopping, consider these guidelines when you’re avoiding the showroom floor. 1. Conducting research in person or online, researching to find is the initial step in the car-buying process. Think about what aspects are most important to you: The dimensions of the car as well as the fuel economy, and the design and color. Although you may not be able to explore the new car personally, YouTube car tours are a great resource to see the specifics a vehicle offers. 2. Set a budget After you decide on the kind of vehicle you’d like, it’s important to figure out how much you’re willing to spend and . Finding this number takes more effort, but it’s more straightforward without having a salesperson pressure you. Enjoy your stay at in your home and think about all the factors that affect you like your income, fuel, insurance and any additional costs for your vehicle. 3. Find local inventory Another benefit of shopping for your car online is the possibility to check local inventory before making a visit to the dealership. This can be accomplished in a few ways. Look at certain dealers in your region Search by, for instance “Toyotas available close to me” or look up websites such as Edmunds as well as TrueCar. This can also assist in understanding the price landscape for your dream car. 4. Chat online with salespeople Negotiation is among the most intimidating aspects of buying a car, but when you’re sitting in front of a computer it’s much simpler to bargain for the price you’re worthy of. A majority of the marketplaces that you’ll encounter include a chat feature. Make use of it as a place to ask the appropriate questions. Be firm, and provide information while checking local inventory about different price options. The bottom line It’s clear the experience of buying a car has changed both for the dealer and the consumer over the last few years due to a variety of factorsincluding global pandemics, inflation problems, supply chain challenges and the advancement of technological. It is crucial to keep in mind that a change in the industry is happening and is providing greater transparency and accessibility to the consumer. Even though it’s likely that car dealerships will completely disappear, think about shopping online to potentially save time and money.


Authored by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.

Edited by Helen Wilbers Edited by

Helen Wilbers has been editing for Bankrate since the end of 2022. He values the clarity of his reporting, which helps readers confidently find deals and make the most appropriate choices regarding their financial situation. He specializes in small business and auto loans.

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