COVID-19's impact on the auto industry brings good and bad news for consumers

Posted at 12:30 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 12:30:26-04

(WXYZ) — Despite the music still playing from the loudspeakers outside a dealership in Southfield, in-person showrooms in Michigan are closed right now under the current executive stay-at-home order.

The auto industry has been thrown for a giant loop amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Big 3 Detroit automakers shifting production gears early on to make vital medical equipment like ventilators.

North American production halted amid health concerns, and thousands of auto workers are still furloughed.

The market chaos brings it with it both good and bad news for consumers.

"The deals out there are unbelievable," said John McElroy with Autoline TV.

To call it a buyer's market would be understatement, industry experts like John Boyd say.

"Many companies are being very aggressive not only with pricing but with financing options and deferring payment options," Boyd told 7 Action News.

Sellers on the other hands, don't have it as bright and shiny; used car and trade-in values are plummeting.

McElroy suggests if you don't absolutely have to sell your used car, to hold off.

While financing options are great right now for consumers, McElroy said sticker prices could still potentially come down, despite no fire sales at Dealerships yet.

"If we stay in lock down, if the other waves come, they’re going to have to move that inventory," he said.

Even after COVID-19, McElroy thinks the way we view the car-buying process is changing.

“Car dealerships are really setting themselves up to be able to sell online, deliver a vehicle right to your house. Even for service, they’re talking about picking up right on a flatbed," he said.

The market, Boyd said, is still way off. This, after several strong years for the auto industry.

"We’ve never seen anything like this before. I think May will be a very indicative month, will set the tone for the rest of the year. We expect Ford and General Motors to begin production," Boyd said.

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