Car Buying In A Corona Economy; What Ford Is Doing for Confidence and Financial Support
Living in a Corona virus economy is not easy. Many of us are suffering in some capacity. Some are in tough financial straits. It’s great to see banks, utility companies and corporations banding together to not stick it to people. Ford Motor Company is doing their part.
I wrote recently about Ford’s excellent “Built To Lend A Hand” program. This fantastic program offers deferred payments for up to six months for those who have recently purchased new Ford vehicles (if they financed through Ford credit or at Ford dealer). In my article, I sang Ford’s praises for this.
To my knowledge, Ford was one of the first carmakers to offer such assistance, dare I say a lending hand.
Now, on TV, it seems every carmaker and corresponding car dealer is offering similar programs, not just deferments. The trendy loaning tactic right now, including from Ford, is offering 84-month zero-percent interest loans, plus six months of payment deferments. This is almost unprecedented amounts of lending.
On the outside that looks like a tremendous deal, and it really is. But for people who aren’t financially savvy, they may not fully understand what that means. 84 months, for those who are mathematically challenged, is seven years. This means it will be 2027 before you finish paying off this loan.
According to James Houston who is the marketing director for J.D. Power, "OEM’s and their captive finance partners have a number of tools to support consumers during times of uncertainty, both those looking to purchase a new vehicle as well as those looking to continue maintain their existing vehicle. Any program that assures consumers the affordability of the vehicle they are purchasing during uncertain times and gives after-sale support for those who financed their vehicle helps to generate consumer confidence." Houston said.
What Consumer-Friendly Car Loans Are Available?
Ford Motor Company is offering flexible payment arrangements, including deferred payments up to 90 days and 84-month, zero-percent interest loans. Note, this offer is for well-qualified buyers, and not everyone will be eligible.
Be sure to work out details with your Ford Authorized car dealer ahead of time so you aren’t disappointed. Also, be sure that the vehicle you decide upon is something you’ll want to drive for the next seven plus years, as you will likely go upside down on this loan very quickly.
While this is a great and generous deal, it’s not without flaws and downside. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into and that it’s the right deal for you in the long-term, not just the short-term.
“Our dealers are incredibly connected to their communities,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Ford North America. “And they’re willing to lend a hand by doing whatever it takes to help our customers in this time of need.”
Online Car Shopping Options Are Easier Now Thanks to Social Distancing
I wrote recently about digital kiosks popping up at Ford car dealerships. The intent of these was not for “social distancing” but more for convenience. However, in this era of social distancing, car dealerships have had to adapt with very few people on their lot.
As such, more and more car dealers are offering online deals and online negotiating. I’ve been a huge fan of this process for several years, as I hate spending an entire day on a car lot negotiating back and forth. That being said, now more than car dealerships make it a viable option.
Figure out if you qualify for the 84-month zero-interest loan. If so, pick out the vehicle that works best for you. And even better now, many Ford dealers will now deliver that vehicle to your house.
You simply fill out electronic paperwork and never have to step foot on the car lot. That is an outstanding, consumer-friendly option. Nobody likes buying a car and now, thanks partially to social distancing due to corona virus, the process is easier and can be home from the comfort of your house.
As someone who is feeling the financial pressures of corona virus economy, I can say thank you to every company that is operating as a good citizen. Now is the not the time to be jerks. Now is the time to come together. Thank you to Ford and all carmakers for understanding this and offering such compassionate, consumer-friendly offers.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy is also author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, and Twitter.