Ever since Governor Larry Hogan issued a ‘stay-at-home’ directive to Marylanders on Monday, 30 March 2020, the motor industry both in the state and across the country took a hard hit. In Annapolis, once-thriving car dealerships were forced to shut their doors under strict lockdown regulations. As the virus continued to spread through the state, Maryland Automotive Dealers Association urged its members to move all vehicle sales online or to appointment only. Now, nearly a month and a half since lockdown was implemented, an increasing number of automotive manufacturers and dealers are offering deferred payments, hard-to-resist discounts, and interest-free financing to get residents to buy cars. While the pandemic has resulted in a loss of income for many Annapolis households, now may be the perfect time for others to invest in a new set of wheels.
E-commerce will be the ‘new normal’
The way Marylanders purchase new cars may never quite be the same again, as auto manufacturers and dealers are making significant adjustments in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers may very well end up preferring the new way business is being conducted, which will see the automotive industry undergoing a permanent transformation. Rhett Ricart, chairman of the National Auto Dealers Association recently stated: “By the end of this year, you’re going to see 80%-90% of U.S. new car dealers with full e-commerce capability in their shops.” He continued that “these facilities will be used to handle everything online but the test drive and – maybe – the final signature.”
No need to spend time at a dealership anymore
Annapolis residents are no strangers to conducting online research into vehicle specifications and prices, and have subsequently adapted well to the ‘new normal’. Whether you are looking for a new pick-up such as the Ram Big Horn or want to trade in the old family ride for a new Chevrolet SUV, spending a few minutes on the internet will provide you with all the information you could possibly require. Most of the biggest car manufacturers, including Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru and Lexus have dealerships in Annapolis, while a host of other reputable dealerships stock a variety of popular cars and trucks. While some of these dealerships will reopen fully once the state is reopened, many others with continue to offer no-contact interactions to their customers.
Don’t be duped into making an unnecessary purchase
With dealers trying everything in their power to attract new customers, it may become increasingly easy to be tricked into buying a car you don’t really want or need. Before signing any papers and parting with any money, make 100% sure that your budget allows for the acquisition of a new vehicle – especially under current circumstances. If you are in the market for a new car, visit the websites, or make alternative contact with any of Annapolis’s reputable car dealerships in order to make an informed purchasing decision.
While Governor Hogan may very well end up opening Maryland before the end of the week, it will take exponentially longer for business to resume any degree of normality. For the foreseeable future, at least, Annapolis residents may have to become accustomed to purchasing their vehicles with a few clicks of a mouse button.