Buying a car from the couch? You will pay more

Online vehicle sales pioneer Carvana and its growing list of competitors are experiencing strong demand, especially from younger buyers more comfortable with invisible shopping.

In this photograph from Sunday, July 25, 2021, a handful of 2021 models are on display at a Mercedes Benz dealership in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

Nationwide used vehicle prices continue to skyrocket both due to increased demand from buyers and slowing production of new vehicles due to the shortage of computer chips.

The prices of used vehicles in the DC subway have increased more than many cities over the past year.

“Car prices are up 34.3% or more than $ 7,500 from a year ago. DC is still higher than average, ”said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at the new and used vehicle research site iSeeCars.

More and more of these used vehicle sales do not involve a buyer’s trip to a dealership for the proverbial tire kick, or a real test drive.

Online vehicle sales pioneer Carvana and its growing list of competitors who sell vehicles online such as CarGurus, AutoTrader and Vroom have a lot of demands from buyers looking for convenience. Brauer says they tend to be younger shoppers and are more comfortable with invisible purchases.

Brauer compares the pure online vehicle shopping experience to that of online shoe company Zappos, which, when it started two decades ago, had skeptics who said consumers would never buy shoes. online without trying them. Zappos now has $ 2 billion in annual revenue.

Buyers also pay more to shop in their comfortable pants.

“People like to avoid the dealership if they can,” Brauer said. “This whole idea of ​​you ordering the car and having the car delivered to you is very appealing. We have also found that the transaction price is typically several hundred dollars higher.

Carvana alone sold more than 244,000 vehicles in 2020. In the Northeast, where more commuters depended on public transport before the pandemic, Carvana sales increased by 177% last year.

Buyers can practically kick the tires out and get a lot more information about a used vehicle’s past than was possible many years ago. There are data sources online that require little more than the 17-digit vehicle identification number. Vendors can also provide service records.

Some buyers are reluctant to consider a used vehicle, preferring the new one. But due to advancements in automobile manufacturing, used vehicles have been reliable vehicles for much longer now.

“Assuming you treat it right and keep it running, 100,000 miles is a no-brainer and 200,000 miles is very, very doable. You don’t even have to buy a specific car or a specific brand anymore, ”Brauer said.

iSeeCars posted a used vehicle buying guide online showing the best used vehicles to buy right now, as well as the best used vehicles for sale right now.

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