Is the COVID-19 period the best time to buy a car?

2019 hyundai tucson in mscp
2019 Hyundai Tucson. Review here

You’ve been eyeing a car in the market for a while. And just as you’re about to view the car or put a deposit down for it, the inevitable (COVID-19) happens. The world stops, economies crash, governments overwhelmed, hard at work to keep their countries running.

In this difficult period, and assuming you still have your source of income, you might think it’s a good time to get a car because of some really good deals on the market. And you’re absolutely right.

There are car owners who may have lost their source of income and have to let go of their car, or car owners who just want to play safe by selling their cars to free up some cash.

Not forgetting the car dealers who are eager to sell their stock of cars because there simply aren’t that many buyers now. For sure – it’s a buyers market.

That being said – here are some reasons why I think you should or should not buy a car during the COVID-19 period.

Reasons to buy (I could only think of 1 reason, to be honest) :

Great deals that may be hard to come by once COVID-19 is over

As mentioned above, you can get some pretty good deals during this period if you know where to look, and if the seller is desperate enough.

For example – take a look at this Audi A5 selling for close to paper value. With COE now being relatively affordable, you can get it COE renewed at about $30k for CAT B COE. (March 2020)

This brings your total to about $63k for an Audi A5 for 10 years of COE. Or what about this other Audi A5? (Sorry I found these 2 pretty good A5 deals so I just had to share)

“Depreciation is only $6.3k per year!!!”, your inner 5-year-old screams in delight.

BUT – here comes the problems :

Paperwork

With non-essential services (e.g car dealers) not in operation, how do you get your car? You can’t go down to the showroom, you can’t test drive it. You can only look at pictures of it online.

Even if you’re buying it from a private seller, how are you going to get the paperwork done? COE bidding, ERP is suspended. Even LTA’s customer service counter is closed. I’m not even sure if you can go about getting all the necessary paperwork done.

Insensitivity

To be honest, I never thought about this until a colleague mentioned it to me.

Sorry.

Getting a car during this difficult time where many Singaporeans have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet may make you seem like a douche to those who are not as fortunate.

Not forgetting that in the age of social media, we are bound to post photos of our shiny new ride on Facebook or Instagram, which may trigger some people.

When can you drive it?

Next comes the question of when you will actually be able to properly utilize your car.

With the circuit breaker going on (and no certainty on whether it will extend beyond 1st June), there’s a good chance your car will be sitting in the carpark collecting dust for now.

Car owners – keep your car in good shape by following these maintenance tips during circuit breaker!

bmw 4 series side profile

Uncertainty

After all the above is said and done, at the end of the day – remember that COVID-19 hit us all like a ton of bricks.

Within weeks, the world changed and we did not see it coming. Our lifestyles had to change, we can no longer meet our friends, and the simple things we take for granted – like going to the gym or dining at our favorite restaurants, are made impossible.

How can we ever be sure that we can keep our source of income in the months to come? I’m not trying to scare you, but perhaps it’s wise for us to save rather than spend during these uncertain times.

If you are one of those who are fortunate enough to get a car during this period, I congratulate you. Not many are as fortunate.

Nonetheless, stay safe !

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