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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 choices by providing you with interactive financial calculators and tools as well as publishing independent and objective content. This allows you to conduct your own research and compare information for free and help you make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Profit The products that are featured on this website are provided by companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on the site, such as, for example, the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law. Our mortgage, home equity and other products for home loans. This compensation, however, does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial deals that could be open to you.


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5 min read 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 taking out loans to buy a car.

Editor: Helen Wilbers Edited by

Helen Wilbers has been editing for Bankrate from late 2022. He is a fan of transparent reporting that allows readers to successfully land deals and make the best decisions for their financials. He is a specialist in small and auto loans.

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The purchase of a car is the second-highest cost purchase many consumers make in their lifetime. The process of securing this expensive item was historically a painful experience filled with and on the lot of the dealership. However, with the change in normal that the pandemic has brought, many dealerships are now embracing this and creating a more seamless buying experience. Car buying in 2023 is a hazard supply chain challenges that are keeping prices up. As consumers, it’s essential to make use of the shift in the purchasing process of cars for your benefit. Consider the following ways that car buying may look different in the next year for both the buyer or the buyer. What should you expect when purchasing the car of the year we move deeper into 2023, it’s hard to avoid news of and an imminent recession. Economists believe the economy has an 85% chance of experiencing a recession this year, as reported by. While the probability of a recession may not be directly correlated with a customer’s experience on the lot, the high cost of a car outside the dealership could mean additional discomfort when purchasing the next car. December was the month that saw yet another record-high average transaction price for new vehicles, $49,507, according to . However, the future isn’t all doom and gloom as dealers are taking note of the threatening macro-environmental trends. Bankrate spoke to Dave Thomas, director of content marketing and automotive sector analyst with CDK Global, for insight on upcoming trends this year. Price is still the most important factor when you’re shopping for a vehicle this year, youlike the majority of buyers, according to the — may use price as your main consideration. Although the commitment to time that comes with car buying is a factor for the other 50% of respondents, price is most important. This year could be a bit of a roller coaster ride for motorists, says Thomas. « For shoppers, the focus will be on interest rates and how to find the best one for your budget » Thomas explains. It « could make the process a bit harder than it was previously due to the reduced inventory. » If you are shopping, make sure to consider numerous financing options are available to ensure you sign off on the best bargain, even with higher costs and higher interest rates. Tips from Bankrate

When , consider the whole of what you’ll need to pay and not just the monthly costs.

The inventory is low. When customers head out to a dealer they have an idea of the type of vehicle they want to purchase. However, many buyers have discovered showrooms empty of the cars they’d like to purchase. In the CDK’s six-month period , « the number of shoppers finding the car they’re looking for available has not exceeded 50, » says Thomas. In addition inventory is decreasing compared to 2019. Even though conditions are improving supply remains below demand, according to J.D. Power. Low inventory has also resulted in an increase of customers who do not visit the dealership at all. « Some brands are seeing inventories returning, but most have a distinct number of cars are on the lot, » Thomas says. This « led to the increase in customers ordering vehicles cars from the factory with the entire process handled by the dealer. » There are more options for buying online are growing. The standard car buying experience hasn’t had a major makeover in many years, and consumers have become accustomed to the long-winded procedure of purchasing a brand new or used vehicle from a dealership. The shift to purchasing cars online isn’t a completely new idea. Lots of local dealers have had online marketplaces available for customers to look at inventory before arriving at the lot. However, the online shopping experience has become more detailed in recent years. The time away that many motorists have taken from the car purchasing process due to high prices is also a reason why many people require additional guidance when shopping. Therefore, even though online shopping is increasing, Thomas explains that « 76 percent of those we surveyed said they wanted 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 were one of those who did not get on the roads in the last year because of high prices, you can take comfort in this flexibility. Dealerships will continue operating While traditional dealerships aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, it has experienced shifts following the outbreak. A lot of drivers are now taking advantage of online ordering like or the time local dealers are unable to fill their showrooms. However 91% of consumers did not go through the traditional process when buying a car in the last year, as per the CDK survey. It is also interesting to note that 9 percent of those who completed the car purchase process completely online did not score the experience very highly. This is why it’s a good idea not to miss the real-world experience you can get. However, many dealerships offer customers the most beneficial of approach by allowing customers to start online and finish in-store. Thomas explained the switch. A lot of automakers from the past are « streamlining the online process and attempting to make the transition from doing part of the journey online into seamless experience at the showroom. » Drivers gain from the ability to crunch the numbers at the convenience of at home but still have a driving experience before signing the documents. Four ways to make use of the internet to your advantage. Online car shopping is new and takes some time to master. Although some tips are in line with the traditional approach to car purchasing, you should consider these guidelines when you’re avoiding the showroom floor. 1. If you are able to research in person, or not finding out is the initial step to buying a car. Take note of the factors that are most important to you such as the size of the vehicle and its fuel efficiency, or the design and color. While you might not be able to tour the car you’ve purchased personally, YouTube car tours are a great resource to see the features a car can offer. 2. Make a budget. Once you’ve decide on the kind of car you’d like, it’s crucial to determine what you’re willing spend and . This requires additional work but is much more straightforward without having a salesperson pressure you. Enjoy your stay at in your home and think about all contributing factors including your earnings or salary, your fuel costs, insurance, and any additional costs for your vehicle. 3. Find local inventory Another benefit of shopping for your car on the internet is the ability to look up local inventory prior to going to look in person. It can be done in several ways. Look at certain dealers in your region — search, for example « Toyotas that are sold close to me » or look up websites such as Edmunds as well as TrueCar. This can also assist in because you’ll better grasp the market price for your dream car. 4. Chat online with salespeople . Negotiation can be among the most intimidating aspects of buying a car, but when you’re sitting in front of a computer it’s much simpler to bargain for the price you’re entitled to. The majority of online marketplaces you’ll come across will have a chat option. Make use of this feature to ask the appropriate questions. Make sure to be firm and share information you found while checking local inventory about the various pricing options. The bottom line It’s clear the buying experience for cars has changed both for the dealer and the buyer over the past few due to a combination of factorsincluding global pandemics and inflation as well as supply chain issues, and the rapid growth of technology. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a change of the business is underway and is providing more transparency and accessibility for the driver. Therefore, even though it’s unlikely that car dealerships are going to disappear entirely, you should consider purchasing online and saving time and money.


Authored by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping 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 from late 2022. He values clear reporting that helps readers successfully get deals and make most appropriate choices regarding their finances. He is a specialist in small business and auto loans.

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