You Are Buying a Car at the Worst Time; Here’s What to Do

Now is not the time to buy a car. New and used cars alike are scarce and overpriced. As many of us know, our old, raggedy cars don’t care when it’s a good time for us; they’ll die when they damn well feel like it. So, if you find yourself shopping for a car during the worst time to buy a new or used car, here are some tips that might help you. Whether You’re Looking for a Ford Super Duty or a BMW M3, this is going to be a journey. 

An empty Ford dealership shows that now is not the best time to buy a car. Buying a car right now will be tough.
Empty Ford Dealership | David Paul Morris Getty Images

Why are there no new cars?

The automotive industry has nearly come to a screeching halt due to a laundry list of calamities over the last year. COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 not only put car production behind but also put car parts production behind. Since we were all locked in and social distancing, cars became in high demand quickly

Car sales went up as more people decided to upgrade their old rides for something more comfortable. Since public transportation was no longer safe, people started buying cars in places like NYC, where most people don’t own cars. This began a small log jamb. 

At the same time, electronics sales were also skyrocketing because everyone was at home. So semiconductor chips were in high demand. Then one of the largest chips plants in the world burned down in Japan, sending the production world into a full-blown shortage. Since most vehicles also use these chips, car production has slowed to a trickle, skyrocketing used cars’ prices until more new cars come. And that brings us to now. 

How to buy a car in 2021

The car market is pressed. The chances that the car you want is available are pretty slim. If it is, it might be highly market up due to the shortage. So, how are you supposed to buy a car? 

According to NPR, Sarah Chismar, a Toyota salesperson, mentioned that their lot normally has around 120 cars in it. These days they are lucky to have 10. Overall, inventory levels are down 64 percent industry-wide from last year. As a result, the average cost of new and used cars has climbed thousands of dollars this year alone. 

The key to buying a car in these times is to compromise 

We have mentioned this before, but the best thing you can do right now is not getting your heart set on any one make and model. If you only want to buy a 2021 Ford F-150 in a certain spec, you’re not likely to stroll into the dealership and buy one today. 

Many buyers report paying extra money to be added to a waitlist to potentially get the car they wanted some weeks and even months later. 

The best real advice here is to make a list of the cars you want and be mentally prepared to have to go down the list until you find something available at a price you can afford. 

Take full advantage of your used car trade-ins

Fresh Auto car dealership shows lot of cars to buy
An aerial view of cars a dealership in Russia | Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

If you are buying a car in these insane times, the one boon to your cause is that used car prices have also skyrocketed. Since the new car inventory is so low, people are taking to buying used cars instead. This can work for you. 

If you have a decent used car, shop around until you find the right dealer who really wants what you have. The offers might just get you where you need to be on a nicer model than the one you thought you could afford. While there are no guarantees, shopping around is always smart advice. But, this only works if you are clearly ready to walk from a deal you don’t like. 

Buying a new car might mean waiting – for a while

This last one is the least fun bit of advice, but maybe the most important. There are two ways to look at this. The first way is by understanding that if you want a certain model, you will probably have to wait for it. This could be turned into a way to save money while you wait. This could also mean planning to make your car delivery special by planning a road trip in your new car. 

The second way to look at this car buying annoyance is to ask yourself honestly if you need a new car right now. This is something that most people struggle with—denying ourselves something we want sucks. However, buying a new car right now just isn’t the best idea. You are likely to pay more for something that isn’t going to appreciate. 

Buying a new car is hard normally, but this…

Buying a new car is really stressful for most folks. Like all things over the past two years, this new version of car buying is exponentially more stressful and overwhelming. The best way to deal with this is by keeping calm and staying patient. The slower you can go and the longer you can wait, the better chance you have of actually getting that 2021 Ford Bronco and not spending an embarrassing amount of money on it. Take heart, car buyers. This, too, shall pass. 

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