Pier Alsup – Chief Community Engagement Officer
Together Credit Union
This summer, there are would-be auto buyers considering postponing purchases given the slow-roll back to a “new normal” as the Coronavirus pandemic continues. But there are many ready-buyers who cannot wait or choose not to wait, hoping to get a good deal on a new set of wheels.
As the weather heats up buyers will enjoy a variety of robust payment plans and purchase programs designed by auto manufacturers to incent purchases. These are the same types of programs buyers have seen during past economic downturns and that manufacturers use to control overstock and inventory during certain times of the year. These programs include zero percent financing, deferred payments, free access to certain services such as emergency assistance and WiFi hotspots, as well as payment protection if the purchasers loses employment during the first few months after purchase.
All of these plans and programs are designed to provide confidence, making a buyer feel confident about a new car purchase. But in good times and in bad, I like to say “keep your confidence where you’ve always had it” … in this case, with Together Credit Union.
If you are car shopping …
– First: Get pre-approved. Getting preapproved is easier than ever today with online loan applications. Once you are pre-approved, you will know how much car you can afford and you will know the best rate available to you. Best of all, this rate is not tied to purchase options. Your approved rate will be tied to the amount you are financing and the length of loan. Strange as it sounds, sometimes zero percent interest offers are not the best deal. That’s right. If zero percent financing requires forfeiting dealer incentives or is designed for a more expensive vehicle than a buyer would typically purchase, it’s important to do the math especially with today’s low interest rates. With a traditional loan, a buyer may be “paying interest” but most likely it is on a total purchase price that is less due to the ability to take advantage of loyalty cash, rebates and incentives. If you need assistance, be sure to reach out to your financial institution before heading to the dealer, whether in person or online. At Together Credit Union, our personal service representatives can walk you through all your purchase options to help determine the best deal for you.
– Second: Start your purchase research online! With a quick search, you can find what each manufacturer is offering in new vehicle incentives and you can find the exact inventory on the dealership lot.
– Third: Get familiar with your local dealership. If you are self-isolating, check to see if they offer touchless valet service bringing the vehicle to you to test drive as well as delivering the vehicle after purchase. And, check to see how much of the sale process can be accomplished online. Finally, while dealerships are typically not close spaces or crowded environments, ask in advance about the dealership’s precautions and requirements, such as the wearing of masks and if there is a limit on the number of family members or guests who can visit with you. So if you’re ready to get a new set of wheels this summer, do your research and find the best deal for you. Look beyond the monthly payment and review the purchase terms to see if it is right for you. Visit www.togethercu.org for auto buying education and calculators as well as buying services and protection options.