Sobering times grip the globe as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a potentially fatal virus, threatens our communities. In the United States as number of cases and deaths rise, students are being kept home from school, businesses are shuttered or forced to cut hours, and social gatherings, entertainment and sporting events have been postponed or cancelled outright. The stock market’s daily activity looks more like a roller coaster track than a financial report. Without a doubt, these are confusing and uncertain times.
Unclear as to what even tomorrow holds, the automotive industry is left to confront its own questions and navigate through uncharted waters. New car production has been reduced or halted all together. Even passengers in the back seat of your own car might be wondering if they touch the wrong thing might something horrible happen.
We’re here to offer some answers to your potential questions. Check back for regular updates on automotive information, answers, and suggestions.
Recently Announced Incentives and Programs
Current Acura owners and lessees financing through Acura Financial Services may be eligible for payment extensions, payment deferrals, and late fee waivers. Prospective Acura buyers can get 90 days of deferred payments if they finance through Acura plus get $500 in loyalty cash to buy or lease a new model. Acura is running special low-APR financing on CPO TLX and RDX models. Click here for information on how to contact your local Acura Financial Services office.
Audi Financial Services is offering assistance to Audi owners and lessees on a case-by-case basis and can be contacted at 888-237-2834.
BMW Financial Services is offering assistance to BMW owners and lessees on a case-by-case basis and can be contacted at 800-578-5000.
Fiat-Chrysler (Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram)
Current Fiat-Chrysler owners and lessees can make flexible payment arrangements and qualify for payment extensions on a car-by-case basis. For perspective FCA buyers, there’s a special financing promotion for 0% APR financing for 84 months on select Dodge, Jeep, and Ram models. You can also get deferred payments for 90 days on select 2019 and 2020 FCA models. There’s another promo running for the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica with 0% APR financing for 60 months with 90 days of deferred payments. Chrysler Capital can be contacted at 885-563-5635.
Buyers of a new car from the blue oval can have the option of delaying their first payment for up to 90 days. They’ve also stated that current customers affected economically by the coronavirus should reach out to Ford Credit to discuss delays in payments to assist with financial relief.
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC)
GM is making flexible payment arrangements and payment extensions available on a case-by-case basis. GM is also running an attractive incentive of 0% APR financing for 84 months with deferred payments for up to 120 days on select 2020 models and all 2019 models. GM is also offering home delivery for new vehicles. GM Financial can be contacted at 800-284-2271.
The luxury arm of Korean manufacturer, Hyundai, is offering deferred payments for the first 90 days on new vehicles bought from March 14 until April 30. If for some reason purchasers lose their job and are financially affected by coronavirus, buyers can quality for up to six months of payment relief until they get back on their feet. The only Genesis product that qualifies for this program is the 2019 Genesis G70.
Current Honda owners and lessees financing through Honda Financial Services may be eligible for payment extensions, payment deferrals, and late fee waivers. Prospective Honda buyers can get 90 days of deferred payments if they finance through Honda plus get $1,000 in loyalty cash to buy or lease a new model. Honda is running special low-APR financing on CPO Accord, Civic, and CR-V models. Click here for information on how to contact your local Honda Financial Services office.
Parent company Hyundai offers buyers the same terms as Genesis above, deferred payment for the first 90 days after purchasing a car from March 14 through April 30th and the same payment relief, but with a larger selection of vehicles. Check your local dealer for more details.
Infiniti is making flexible payment arrangements and payment extensions available on a case-by-case basis. Infiniti Financial Services can be contacted at 800-627-4437.
Jaguar -Land Rover
New Finance Purchases
- 0% financing for 72 Months – Jaguar Land Rover will offer zero-percent financing on 2020 Jaguar and Land Rover models, as well as 2021 Jaguar F-TYPE, for up to 72 months.
- Payment Deferral Program1 –Jaguar Land Rover will offer a 90-day first payment deferral for qualifying customers who finance through Jaguar Financial Group or Land Rover Financial Group (collectively, “Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group”)*. The program applies to all 2020 Jaguar and Land Rover models, as well as 2021 Jaguar F-TYPE (at an amount financed cap of $100,000).
Current Jaguar Land Rover Group Lease Customers
- By continuing to make monthly payments, Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group lease customers may extend the term of a Lease Agreement for up to six months to allow extra time and flexibility. No phone call is needed to confirm the extension. Customers will receive a letter or email from Chase for more information about the lease extension.
- Lease Payment Waiver2 for qualified returning Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group lease customers. This waiver is the first of its kind among luxury marques. Through the Lease Payment Waiver, Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group will waive two payments of up to $750 each for eligible returning lessees, who begin a new lease through Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group. The Lease Payment Waiver covers all 2020 Jaguar models, as well as the 2021 F-TYPE, and 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport, Discovery, Range Rover Evoque, and Range Rover Velar.
Jaguar Land Rover recognizes that customer transportation requirements are ongoing, and is fully committed to supporting vehicle sales, service, and parts needs during this period of extraordinary caution. As part of the complimentary valet service from Jaguar Land Rover, participating retailers are able to deliver vehicles to customers for test drives and product presentations.
Current Kia owners and lessees can get up to three 30-day payment extensions on a case-by-case basis. Prospective Kia drivers can get 0% financing for 72 months with your first payment deferred for 120 days on select models. As of this writing, this promotion is running for cars financed by 3/31/2020. Kia Motors Finance can be contacted at 866-331-5632.
Lexus is making flexible payment arrangements and payment extensions available on a case-by-case basis. Lexus Financial can be contacted at 800-874-7050.
Mazda North America has an “Essential Car Care program.” This provides free standard oil changes and enhanced car cleaning services for eligible U.S. healthcare workers at dealers nationwide, and will run through June 1. Important note – this is not just for owners of Mazda vehicles. The eligibility requirements include, according to MazdaUSA.com, “Most standard make/model passenger cars, crossovers and SUVs…” The program does not extend to exotics, classics or other vehicles with high-capacity oil needs or anything that requires special tools or training. Also, you do have to show some kind of proof that you’re a healthcare worker.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services is offering assistance to Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees on a case-by-case basis and can be contacted at 800-654-6222.
Mini is offering current owners and lessees a 30-day extension for warranty and maintenance plans expiring between 3/16-4/16. If you need assistance on your payments or have a lease scheduled to expire soon, Mini Financial Services can be contacted at 866-646-4463.
Current Mitsubishi owners and lessees can get up to 120 days of deferred payments for vehicles financed through Ally. Prospective Mitsubishi buyers can get up to 90 days of deferred payments when you finance through Ally. Ally’s auto division can be contacted at 855-298-2559.
Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (NMAC) is making payment rescheduling an option for Nissan owners and lessees who need assistance. For prospective owners, 0% APR financing with 90 days of deferred payments is available for select Nissan models. NMAC can be contacted at 800-456-6622.
Porsche is expanding its online retail business, offering no-contact sales and service by picking up and/or delivering your car to your home, and offering payment deferrals of 30-60 days on a case-by-case basis. For Porsche lessees with a lease scheduled to mature through 4/30/2020, you could qualify for a six-month extension on the lease. Porsche Financial Services can be contacted at 800-505-1041. Read more details about Porsche’s response to coronavirus.
Subaru does its financing through Chase and they’re offering payment extensions of up to 90 days and lease extensions for up to six months. For prospective Subaru owners, you could qualify for special 0% APR financing for 63 months on most of the Subaru lineup including Ascent, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback models. For assistance on a loan, you can contact 800-662-3325 and for assistance on a lease, you can contact 800-644-1941.
Toyota is making flexible payment arrangements and payment extensions available on a case-by-case basis. Lexus Financial can be contacted at 800-874-8822.
Volkswagen and Volkswagen Credit (VCI) will now offer several ways for existing and new owners to get financial help. Existing Volkswagen Credit customers in good standing can seek:
- Up to 90-day payment deferrals without fees (VCI will not charge any fees but finance charges will still accrue for non-lease accounts)
- Lease extensions up to six months
- Waiving past maturity fees in certain circumstances
Qualified new buyers who use Volkswagen Credit also have the option of delaying their first payment for up to 180 days, combined with zero-percent APR financing for up to 72 months for most new vehicles. The program is set to run through April 30.
Delivery jobs open up at Amazon, Domino’s
One of the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 crisis is not just the loss of jobs from closures, but also an increase in demand for delivery employees. Two big players in this pool are Amazon and Domino’s pizza.
In order to keep up with the demand generated from home shopping as people are instructed to stay home, Amazon is looking to hire as many as 100,000 employees to keep up. The jobs include both warehouse workers and delivery drivers.
Likewise, pizza giant Domino’s is looking to add to its numbers. It’s reported that the company will add some 10,000 employees. These not only include delivery drivers, but also pizza makers and store managers.
Nostalgic renaissance of Drive-In theaters?
Social distancing is now the new norm. As traditional brick-and-mortar theaters close amid concerns of containing COVID-19, the public still craves entertainment. And not all Americans are confined to home as they are in big states like California.
As a result, entrepreneurs are looking at bringing back a vestige of Americana, the Drive-In theater. It allows a nation on wheels to go to the movies and social distance at the same time.
While just over 300 of these drive-ins still exist nationally, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that business interests are looking at these venues as a way to reach entertainment-starved families looking for a safe way to get out of the house and enjoy a first-run movie.
The drive-in concept, while old hat for Boomers, may also be a novel way to introduce the concept to a whole new generation. It could also fuel Millennials’ interest in getting drivers’ licenses at an earlier age.
If there’s not a drive-in near you, consider some modern in-car entertainment technology for when everything is closed.
Arsenal of Democracy, Part II
During World War II, the U.S. auto industry underwent a massive retooling to provide armaments, planes, and vehicles to the war effort. This great undertaking was called the Arsenal of Democracy. Now several automakers are proposing a sequel where they would devote some of their manufacturing capabilities to make ventilators to help treat victims of the COVID-19 virus.
FIAT, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Kia and Tesla are using their manufacturing abilities to produce more medical supplies. Even Formula 1 teams in the UK are pitching In.
Supply chain interruptions worsen
Automakers are facing shutdowns in their assembly operations not just to keep their workers safe, but also because of an inability to get components from stricken suppliers. This is no more so evident than the case of key suppliers from Europe like German-based Continental and Bosch and Italian brake giant Brembo, all of which have shut down operations.
These disruptions have echoed across the ocean and parts shortages affect their North American auto manufacturing customers, who in turn have had to slow or stop production.
It’s not just the Detroit Three, GM, Ford and FCA that’s affected. Mercedes-Benz, which has a huge SUV plant in Alabama, said it may have to shutter those operations on word that Continental and Bosch are closing down production, according to a Bloomberg report. Mercedes wouldn’t be the first U.S. transplant to halt production as Honda, Volkswagen and Subaru have announced closures.
Japanese and US car makers halt vehicle production during COVID-19 emergency
In an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus, Honda, Ford and GM announced that production of their vehicles will be temporarily halted. Factories and workers in Mexico, Canada and the United States will be affected. Expect other automakers to follow suite. But just because they aren’t making cars doesn’t mean you still can’t buy a car. In fact, many dealers are offering incentives to encourage the public to help keep the automotive industry and the economy moving. Check with dealer websites for hours of operation or even special online deals.
Riders can no longer use the shared and pooled ride option with Lyft and Uber
While their regular services will continue, both Uber and Lyft announced that for the time being they will no longer be offering the Pooled and Shared ride options.
Pooled or Shared rides involve splitting a trip, and consequently the fare, with passengers you don’t know. Given the confusion of the spread of COVID-19, its two-week incubation period and that some carriers of the virus show no visible symptoms, sitting in close proximity to a stranger seems a highly risky business, and one that Uber and Lyft take seriously.
Uber took to Twitter to explain their decision. “To flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve, we are suspending our Pool option in the US, Canada, London, and Paris.” This is not only true in the United States but around the world. “We are in contact with local leaders globally and expect to take similar action when needed elsewhere.”
Lyft also got on board, saying it, “is pausing Shared rides across all markets. The health and safety of the Lyft community is our top priority.” The ride share company, while still providing a service to those for whom other private or public transportation might not be possible, remains dedicated to help slowing the spread of COVID-19 and, “will continue to monitor the situation closely and base our actions on official guidance.”
Concerned about your next rideshare? Check out our tips for reducing your risk of Coronavirus infection.
Tesla rolls on
Northern California is one area being hit the hardest with several counties being issued a shelter-in-place order imposed on residents and businesses that aren’t deemed essential. But, by all accounts, local automaker Tesla continues to produce their electric vehicles at their Norther California facility in Fremont just south of San Francisco. Whether building Telsas seems mission critical or not, some media outlets have reported that controversial CEO Elon Musk is keeping doors open, though according to some bloggers, he’s operating with a greatly reduced workforce. According to other sources, Musk is instructing employees who might feel sick or are not comfortable coming to work to stay home.
Tips and Advice
In all probability the answer to that is yes. Dealerships in some states may have had to close their public facing sales departments as they have been considered “nonessential”, but services departments for automotive repairs are necessary so remain open. Many dealerships and large dealership groups are offering enhanced services such as vehicle pickup and delivery, modified service hours and increased sanitization efforts. Best to call ahead or check your local dealer’s web site to see exactly what they offer and when they’re open.
For those of us who like to delegate, there is what is called no-contact car service, or concierge car service, which allows your car to be picked up and serviced without you ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Looking for more information? Find out what to expect when buying or servicing your car during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Gas stations also fall under the “essential” category for businesses. In order for commerce to continue to flow as normally as possible, accessibility to fuel might be one of the most essential items Americans need now.
While many people are able to telecommute, there are lots of people still on the road, and there is some good news. Because of economic uncertainty and in the wake of the global pandemic crude oil prices are low and gas prices have fallen. The national average was 32 cents a gallon higher last year at this time than it is now.
We recommend having disinfecting wipes in your car (assuming you can find any at the store) and wiping down your gas pump before and after using it. If you pay at the pump and touch a screen or a keypad, remember to wipe those surfaces down as well. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as you can after pumping gas.
Depending on what your local officials are permitting, the answer is yes. While more and more car dealerships are closing their in-person sales, many dealers are enhancing their online sales efforts and services such as test drives that come to you and/or 100 percent online purchase with delivery of your new or used car. You might even be able to find “Online Only” deals. Before you head out of the house, we suggest calling your local dealership or check out their website to find out if they’re open, and if so, how they’recomplying with government policies and serving their customers. Also, be sure to check out some of our tips for buying a car entirely online and reducing the risk of infection while buying a car.
There is a strong likelihood that if you need a car in these uncertain times you can still purchase one. Check with your local dealership about hours of operation. If they’re not open, they might direct you to their website. Regardless of whether you walk into a brick and mortar dealer or use your keyboard, there are always good things to know when buying a car. Here is some additional information about car shopping during the coronavirus outbreak.
All car dealerships should be observing instructions by local and federal governments during these extraordinary times. While some of them may remain open, depending on the areas these dealerships are in, others might be deemed “nonessential” and ordered closed. Regardless of whether you buy a used car in person or online, there are some good tips to know before making a used car purchase.
Regardless of a public health crisis, the decision to buy or lease a car is always a highly debatable one. How you’re going to use the car, the number of miles you’re planning to put on it, if you’re expecting your family to grow, or whether you plan to modify it or not are all questions to consider. Given the volatility of the stock market, long-term financial decisions could be a factor for you, too.
The short answer to that is yes. The Federal Reserve just cut interest rates and the government will most likely take sweeping action in the coming days and weeks to avoid a recession, especially with a presidential election looming. If you’re in a position to finance a vehicle there should be some enticing incentives to encourage you to do just that.
New incentive programs from dealers are changing daily in response to the COVID-19 situation. Check back here regularly for updates, and be sure to check out our curated deals for other additional incentives.
Even under normal circumstances, selling a car can be a hand-wringing scenario. Add a global pandemic where “social distancing” has become the norm and you might not want to deal with the stress if you don’t have to. However, if it’s a necessity now, there are many different options for selling your car that might prove helpful. Plus, Autotrader Sell My Car is offering 50% off during April and May 2020.
Do as much of your car shopping online as possible. It’s easier than ever to do the whole car buying process online without needing to leave your house, which we strongly encourage doing at this time as a social distancing practice. From research to financing to making the purchase, you might be surprised by how much car buying can be done without going to the dealership. Some dealers even offer home delivery which makes your new car appear in your driveway. Another nice perk is the fact that we’re in a buyer’s market with automakers offering some particularly attractive incentives.
You can use most household cleaners like disinfecting wipes inside your car, but you may want to use cleaners that are specifically for car interiors if you happen to have any on hand. The important thing to keep in mind is to disinfect the common touch-points of your car like interior and exterior door handles, radio controls, and the steering wheel. We encourage disinfecting regularly until the pandemic is over.
The easy answer is to just not use public transportation or ride share services, but we know that’s easier said than done. Aside from limiting your use of these services, you can bring your own disinfecting wipes to wipe down any surfaces you touch like door handles both before and after touching them. Avoid touching anyone else and of course, practice social distancing when you can. We know that can be difficult on public transportation, but it’s on everyone else’s mind too which should make it easier.
A couple of useful technologies that can help keep viruses out of your car are disinfecting foggers and UV lights. A disinfecting fogger is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a canister that fogs up your car while it’s parked and thoroughly disinfects the air via the car’s HVAC system. UV lights have been used for medical disinfecting purposes for years and a handheld unit can be used in your car to sterilize the air.
Yes, automakers are offering some very generous payment assistance for loans and leases during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re doing this both to help out their customers and to avoid repossession, which is a lose-lose situation for both the borrower and the lender. Many of these assistance services are offered on a case-by-case basis so it’s best to contact your lender directly so they can get an idea of your personal situation and help you out accordingly.
There are plenty of third-party options for online car shopping, but now automakers are getting in on the trend including Porsche which is expanding its online retail services during the pandemic. You can do a lot of the car shopping process right here on Autotrader, especially with the Accelerate option which lets you apply for financing and value your trade-in without leaving the house. Kelley Blue Book also has the Accelerate option which is part of what makes it another excellent resource for online car shopping.
No-contact car service is the process of getting your car serviced without needing to come into physical contact with anyone doing the servicing. No-contact car service can mean getting your car picked up at home to be brought to a dealer or service station and dropped off when the maintenance is done. It can also mean setting up a time with a service center to drop off your car without needing to go inside and going through a similar process when it’s time to pick it up.
Yes, the deadline to have a Real ID in order to get on a plane or enter a federal building in the United States has been pushed back due to the coronavirus. The original 10/1/2020 deadline has been pushed back one year to 10/1/2021.
Modern family vehicles are packed with technology that makes it almost impossible to get bored in a car. From infotainment technology like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and in-car wifi to back seat entertainment options like Blu-ray players and screens with educational and entertaining apps, it’s amazing how much stuff there is to do in a car. Most of these technologies are available in minivans and family-oriented three-row SUVs.
If you’re one of the many Americans who are facing a financial struggle due to the coronavirus, many lenders are offering payment assistance and payment deferral programs in these difficult times. If you’re worried about staying current on your car payment, it’s best to reach out to your lender directly and explain your personal situation so they can help you as effectively as they can. When the smoke clears, it will be a good time to consider paying off your car early so you won’t have to worry about a car payment again when the next financial hardship hits.
One of the few — if not the only — positive side effects of the coronavirus pandemic is that it’s created a buyer’s market for cars. If your income hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus and you’ve been thinking about buying a car anyway, there are a lot of attractive offers and incentives available right now as automakers try to avoid inventory problems. That means it’s a good time for the buyer to get a good deal on a car and we encourage you to do as much of your shopping online as possible.
The EPA has a list of nearly 300 disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19, however, not all of them are safe to use on car interior surfaces. General-purpose disinfecting wipes, bathroom cleaners, and germicidal sprays from names like Clorox and Lysol are generally safe to use in car interiors. Just make sure you’re following the directions on the label. Keep in mind; if you’re cleaning a leather surface, you should use a cleaning product that is specifically designed for leather.
Since many automakers have paused production at several assembly plants, they’re using that manufacturing space to produce medical equipment like ventilators. On top of manufacturing abilities, some car companies are also offering their expertise to work together with medical equipment manufacturers to figure out how they can join forces on fighting the pandemic. Automakers are also donating supplies like face masks, goggles, and even vehicles to help out emergency response and medical personnel.
Every state’s DMV and DOT is handling the coronavirus a little differently. Whether your local office is even open depends on where you are so you should try reaching out to your local office just to make sure they’re open before stopping by. State DMVs have been getting better about offering more services online which means whatever you thought you needed to go to the DMV to do, you might be able to do online.
Obviously, the best way to protect your credit score is to stay current on your car payment, but we know that’s difficult to do for a lot of Americans during this pandemic. Lenders are being quite generous with payment deferral options while the coronavirus makes a big negative impact on the economy. It’s best to reach out to your lender directly to work out a solution that can help protect your credit score if you’re having a hard time making your payments.
Cars were made to be driven, and it’s generally not good for them to just be parked for extended periods of time. Since a lot of folks are working from home now and not taking their kids to school, that means cars are going to be driven a lot less until this pandemic is over. Consider going out to the garage and just running your car for a few minutes at least once a week if it’s been a while since you’ve actually driven anywhere. You may also want to consider using a fuel stabilizer and putting a cover on the car like you’re winterizing it.
Repossession is a lose-lose situation for both the borrower and the lender which is why it’s a last resort. Luckily, repossessions generally don’t happen because of one missed payment. If you’ve been current on your car payment and miss one due to the economic impact of coronavirus, it’s very unlikely to lead to a repo. However, if you have a less-than-perfect payment history and you’re worried about repossession, reach out to your lender and explain your situation to try to figure out a solution where you keep your car.
Since the trucking industry is a very essential business that needs to continue operating, it means rest stops are generally still open. The rules seem to be changing state-by-state every day so it’s a little hard to say for sure whether the rest stops on the route you have in mind are still open and operating regularly. A few states including Ohio and Texas have announced they will be cleaning and sanitizing rest stops more regularly giving you some extra peace of mind if you need to use these facilities.
Depending on where you live, you might not be able to register your car in person at the DMV. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to access basic services like car registration online. Check your state’s DOT website to see if you can register online without leaving the house which is not only a good social distancing measure during the coronavirus pandemic but a convenient way to avoid a trip to the DMV.
In general, no, no matter how bad your cabin fever is. Unless you need to travel long distances for work or to care for a loved one who lives far away, you should avoid long-distance travel and stay at home as much as possible. If you do need to hit the road, be cautious and follow the guidelines from health authorities like the CDC and WHO on keeping yourself and others safe from coronavirus.
Some general information on COVID-19
Our 24-hour news cycle seems to be shrinking by the minute. The one thing we do know is that everything is changing quickly and staying informed is our best defense. For more information the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed a resource page to answer questions and give assistance on what to do if you’re sick and how we can best prevent the coronavirus from spreading.