The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a difficult and challenging time, but there are many people in Shropshire and Mid-Wales in need of a new car. This guide will give you what you need to consider if you are planning on buying or selling a car now.
Are car dealerships open?
In line with the latest government advice, many car dealerships, including JT Hughes in Shropshire and Mid-Wales are open. All car dealerships have put procedures in place to ensure social distancing rules are respected, but if you plan to visit a dealership, it's probably wise to call ahead. This applies to both car sales and car servicing operations.
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Remote buying and contactless delivery
When looking at offers from dealers, you can see which dealerships are offering the ability to purchase 100% remotely and keep an eye out for the banners showing you which dealers are offering disinfected delivery and ‘click and collect’ type handovers.
At JT Hughes we have made it fast and easy for you to reserve a car online, leaving you secure in the knowledge that it will not be sold before you get a chance to see it. Not only can you browse all of our current used car stock on our website with full walk-around video, but you can also reserver the vehicle online until you can visit any of our showrooms, or request a home demonstration.
Can I test drive a car?
Many dealers are offering unaccompanied test drives in order to maintain social distancing rules. This means you can test drive a car without having the sales advisor accompanying you.
It follows clarification from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) that “a prospective purchaser may test drive a vehicle on trade plates, without the trader licence holder being present.”
Unaccompanied test drives are likely to be subject to specific insurance conditions, so speak to your dealer about what measures they have in place and what these insurance conditions are.
Dealerships that are offering unaccompanied test drives will have extra cleaning measures in place too, so all test cars will be disinfected before being loaned out for drives.
At JT Hughes we will even drop a car of at your home so you can test drive the car in your own neighbourhood.
Will my new car be delayed by coronavirus?
There is the possibility that new car deliveries will be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. If you are concerned about the delivery of your new car, talk to your dealer to get the latest information.
Even if your new car has been built, there may be delays in delivering it to your chosen dealership as logistics companies take extra precautions to protect their staff.
If you’re looking for a car that can be delivered sooner,find out the latest in-stock cars available from dealers. These cars might not come in the exact specification you’re after (they may be painted a different colour or come with a few extra options) but they’re in-stock and ready for delivery now.
Is it safe to buy a used car?
All car dealerships will ensure that all their stock – new and used cars – will undergo a thorough cleaning process before they’re delivered. They have the resource and staff to do this properly. This might not be the case if you’re buying a used car from a private seller, especially if the car’s still in regular use.
Will there be better deals on new cars?
If you’re planning on paying for your new car monthly (using HP or PCP finance deals), the amount you pay is affected by interest rates – including the Bank of England Base Rate. This is extremely low at the moment, so you may find some dealerships are offering slightly cheaper deals on new cars as a result.
JT Hughes has some amazing deals on all Honda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi models
I’ve bought a car on finance – what happens if I don’t get paid?
You may find your financial situation changes as the coronavirus situation continues to develop. It’s advisable to keep a close eye on your outgoings, including car finance payments, to make sure you don’t fall behind.
If you’re concerned about upcoming payments, don’t ignore it – contact your finance provider immediately.
These firms are often separate from the dealership that sold you your car, but you’ll find their contact details on the documents outlining your finance agreement.
The Finance and Leasing Association advises customers to “contact their lender as soon as possible if they anticipate problems – they’re there to help.
The type of assistance will likely vary depending on the customer’s circumstances, but starting the conversation is key”.
I have a PCP agreement – what are my final payment options?
If you’ve financed your new car using a PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) agreement, you’ll be given the choice of returning your car when your agreement ends or making an optional final payment if you’d prefer to keep it.
Even if you live somewhere at risk of local lockdown restrictions, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to choose the option to pay to keep your car by default.
You’re still entitled to choose from the two options outlined in your original finance agreement.
The Finance and Leasing Association states that “the abiding principle has to be that customers are able to choose the option that best suits their circumstances”.
They advise that you should contact your finance provider to discuss your options if you’re unsure about any aspect of your agreement.
Some finance companies are offering to extend personal finance agreements, allowing you to continue to pay the original monthly amount even after the initial contract period has expired, to allow you to retain your car during the coronavirus outbreak.
In these instances, should you wish to pay the optional final payment to keep your car indefinitely, this amount would be reduced to account for the additional payments you’ve already made.
You should contact your finance company and ask for more details if you’re interested in doing this. It’s worth noting that not all finance companies are offering this extended agreement option, however.