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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 better financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare data for free – so that you can make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this site are from companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products are displayed on the site, such as for instance, the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law. Our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. But this compensation does have no impact on the information we publish, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not cover the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available 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 is a specialist in helping readers with the details of borrowing money to purchase the car they want.

Editor: Helen Wilbers Edited by

Helen Wilbers has been editing for Bankrate since late 2022. He believes in the clarity of his reporting, which helps readers easily land deals and make the most appropriate choices regarding their finances. He specializes in small business and auto loans.

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The purchase of a car is the second most expensive purchase most people make in their lives. It was historically a painful experience filled with and at the dealership lot. In the wake of the new norm that the pandemic has brought, many dealers are embracing the and creating a more seamless buying experience. The buying of cars in 2023 is a hazard and supply chain issues keeping prices high. As consumers, it’s essential to make use of the shift in the car buying process in your favor. Consider the following ways that buying a car could be different in the coming year to both the driver as well as the vendor. What to expect when buying a car this year As we approach 2023, it is difficult to stay clear of news of an imminent recession. Economists believe the economy has 64 percent chance of entering a recession this year, found. Although the likelihood of a recession may not be directly related to a buyer’s experience at the showroom, high prices in the absence of a dealership could result in an additional annoyance when buying your next vehicle. December was the month that saw yet another record-breaking transaction price for new vehicles of $49,507 as reported by . But the future is not negative, as dealers have gotten a glimpse of the changing macro-environmental conditions. Bankrate interviewed Dave Thomas, director of content marketing as well as an automotive market analyst for CDK Global, for insight on upcoming trends this year. Price is still the most important factor when you’re in the market for a new car in the coming year, then you -as 47 percent of buyers according to the could be using price as the main consideration. The time commitment to purchase a car is an important consideration for the other half of consumers surveyed and buyers, price is the primary consideration. 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 locate the one that is within the budget of theirs, » he explains. The fact that this « could make the process a bit harder than it was previously due to the fewer options. » If you are shopping, make sure to consider multiple financing options to ensure you are getting the most affordable bargain, even with higher costs and interest rates. Tips from Bankrate

When , consider the whole of what you’ll need to cover and more than just your monthly costs.

The inventory is low. When customers head out to a dealership they are aware about the kind of vehicle they want to purchase. But many drivers have found no inventory of the dream cars they’ve always wanted. In the CDK’s six-month period , « the number of shoppers finding the vehicle they are looking for available has not exceeded 50, » says Thomas. In addition, inventory is down when compared to the previous year. Although conditions are improving, supply remains below demand, according to J.D. Power. The lack of inventory has also caused an increase in drivers skipping the dealership altogether. « Some brands are seeing inventory returning, but almost all are unique in how many vehicles are available, » Thomas says. This « led to an increase in consumers buying cars from the factory with the entire process handled by the dealer. » Options to buy online will increase. The traditional car purchasing experience hasn’t seen an overhaul in many years and people have grown accustomed to the drawn-out process of buying a new or used car from a dealer. This shift into the purchase of cars online isn’t something that’s completely new. Many local dealerships have had online marketplaces available for customers to look at options prior to visiting the showroom. However, the online shopping experience has become more in-depth recently. The time away that many motorists had to take from the buying process due to the cost is also a reason why many people require more guidance when shopping. Therefore, even though online shopping is increasing, Thomas explains that « 76 percent of the people we interviewed indicated that they were willing to take their time to understand all of their options, » this is an increase from 70 percent in 2021 according to the 2023 . If you’re one of the drivers that were forced to stay off the road for the last year because of the high cost of gas, rest assured in this flexibility. Dealerships will continue to operate. While the traditional dealer isn’t expected to be obsolete in the near future, it has seen shifts since the outbreak. Many motorists are now taking advantage of online ordering like or when local dealers have empty areas. Yet, 91 percent of shoppers still took the traditional route to purchase a car over the past year, as reported by the CDK survey. It is also interesting to note that 9 percent of those who completed the car purchase process completely online didn’t rate the experience highly. This is why it is wise not to overlook the hands-on experience it offers. But many dealerships are offering an ideal mix of worlds approach, with the option to begin online and then finish in-store. Thomas explained this switch. Many of the automakers that have been around for decades are « streamlining the process online and are trying to facilitate the switch from doing a portion of the transaction online an effortless experience in the showroom. » Drivers gain from the ability to crunch the numbers at the convenience of home , but still enjoy the driving experience prior to signing the papers. 4 ways to use the internet to your advantage. Online car shopping is new and requires a bit of learning. Although some tips are into the category of traditional car shopping, consider these suggestions when you’re not on the showroom floor. 1. Conducting research in person or online, researching to find is the initial step in the car-buying process. Consider what factors are important to you the most: The size of the vehicle and its fuel efficiency, or the style and color. While you might not be able to tour your new ride personally, YouTube car tours are an excellent resource for seeing the features a car has to offer. 2. Set a budget After you decide on the type of vehicle that you’d like to purchase, it’s important to figure out how much you’re willing to spend and . Finding this number takes extra effort but is easier without a salesperson pressuring you. Make the most of your time at there at home and take into account the various factors that contribute to your decision, such as your salary as well as insurance, fuel and other vehicle expenses. 3. Find local inventory Another benefit of shopping for your car online is the possibility to verify local inventory prior to going to look in person. It can be done in a few ways. Look at the local dealers — search by, for instance « Toyotas available near me » or search on websites like Edmunds as well as TrueCar. This can also assist by helping you understand the market price for your dream car. 4. Chat online with salespeople . Negotiation is among the most intimidating aspects of buying a car however, when you’re in front of a computer screen, it is much easier to haggle for the price you deserve. Most of the online marketplaces you will encounter will offer chat options. Make use of it as a place to ask the right questions. Focus on being firm, and then share the information you have gathered when you look up local inventory for competing pricing options. The bottom line is clear the buying experience for cars has changed for both the dealer as well as buyers over the last few years due to a variety of elements: global pandemic inflation, global pandemic problems, supply chain challenges and growing technology. But it is important to keep in mind that a change in the market is taking place, and it is bringing increased accessibility and transparency to the buyer. So even though it is unlikely that car dealerships are going to disappear entirely, you should consider buying online to save both time and money.


Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers with the ways and pitfalls of borrowing money to purchase the car they want.

Edited by Helen Wilbers Edited by

Helen Wilbers has been editing for Bankrate since the end of 2022. He is a fan of clear reporting that helps readers confidently find deals and make the best choices for their finances. He specializes in small business and auto loans.

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