Buying a new car is always exciting, especially with today’s variety where the luxury features of the past are finding their way into conventional vehicles of today. In Utah, the car buying market is going strong but saw predictably lower numbers in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Utah Tax Commission, new car sales have steadily decreased over the past 3 years:
- 134,021 new cars sold in 2018
- 132,092 new cars sold in 2019
- 115,788 new cars sold in 2020.
This isn’t just a trend in Utah, with the pandemic especially hurting the auto retail industry all over the country. Fewer people are willing to go to the showroom to look at new cars, schedule a test drive, and haggle with a dealer all while in a mask and social distancing from everyone else in the room. What this means for the country as a whole, and Utah in particular, is that digital sales tools are going to become even more important moving forward.
The Utah Car Market
While new car purchases have been declining year-over-year in Utah, the used car business has seen greater fluctuations over the same 3-year period, albeit with better overall sales. The numbers:
- 227,878 used cars sold in 2018
- 237,900 used cars sold in 2019
- 224,466 used cars sold in 2020
This data is interesting for a few reasons; not only does it suggest that the majority of people prefer to buy used vehicles, but that they are already adept at online car purchasing since that is how most of these sales are being conducted. Considering that the car buying process is seeing monumental shifts towards the online storefront and that more cars are being listed all the time, the average Utah shopper is empowered now more than ever to find the car they want under circumstances that suit them.
Why are Utahns so interested in buying used cars, however? With all-in-one retailers that sell new cars, insurance, and are able to point purchasers to great auto care professionals in the area, why do new car sales continue to decline? Reasons could include everything from the preference of dealing away from a big business, to convenience in doing everything online, to a lack of trust in car salespeople. Whatever the overarching reason may be﹘many people respond to calls that a car is for sale from their friends and family on social media﹘the good news is that prices for used cars are dropping precipitously.
Likely in response to the declining rate of car purchases, used-car retailers have tried to head off the trend by slashing prices in record fashion in Utah, compared with other states in the country. Prices have dropped as much as 5%, and there’s no telling if prices will remain there or continue to fall. There are some benefits to purchasing a used car from a retailer:
- Your Car Will Work: In working with a retailer, you are guaranteed to get a car that has had all the necessary work done on it to ensure that it is road-worthy. That means a recent oil change, fresh belts, and a complete brake repair, among other things.
- You Will Get All the Paperwork: Retailers are required to give you all the information you need as a car owner; your vehicle’s title and registration will all be ready for you at the time of purchase.
- Flexibility in Payment: Most of us have probably purchased a car from a private seller, which required either bringing hard cash to a meeting point (which can be dangerous), to convening at a bank to transfer funds. Either way, you’re paying the full price in a big sum. Retailers not only have payment plans but are usually willing to put the value of your previous car towards the new one in a trade.
Buying from a private seller has its benefits as well, however. Normally people are just looking to unload the car as fast as possible and have priced it much lower than a retailer would charge. Payment plans can be negotiated as well, especially if you’re dealing with a friend or family member. Taking the car to a competent auto care shop will fall on the purchaser, however.
The Best Auto Care in West Jordan
Our shop in West Jordan is adept at taking care of any needs new car owners will have, from topping off fluids (like an oil change or brake fluid) to fixing essential systems (like a brake repair or transmission). We strongly recommend bringing in any recently purchased used car, regardless of where it was purchased, to us to have it tuned-up and given a clean bill of health. Just give us a call and we’ll schedule one of our bays for you as soon as is convenient.