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Car Shopping? How to Beat the New Car Shortage

Whether it is your very first car or you are upgrading your current vehicle, car shopping is usually an exciting time! However, with the car shortage that the United States has been experiencing throughout 2021 and 2022, car shopping has been anything but easy.

But there are many things that can be done to help beat the car shortage as a car buyer. From moving quickly in the process to shopping for car functionality to shopping outside of your local dealerships, there are many tips to stay competitive in this kind of car sales market.

Get Pre-Approved

Before car shopping, you should consider getting pre-approved for a car loan. Doing so will help ensure that you do not rely on the dealer’s loans, which can limit your options as compared to other credit union and bank loans.

Before getting pre-approved for a car loan, be sure to gather the appropriate documents, including:

  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Income and employment information
  • Amount you would like to borrow
  • Title or loan information for trade-ins
  • How long you would like to finance the car

It’s important to have these items and questions answered prior to applying so that you are not making uninformed decisions and can ensure accuracy on your application.

After you’ve gathered these items, you can apply for a car loan in person, online, or by phone. In some cases, same-day approvals may even be possible. You may want to look at getting pre-approved at a credit union to help you get a low-interest rate for the loan.

Move Quickly

Once you are preapproved, you must move quickly when you find a car that you like. Because of the car shortage, there is less inventory for car buyers to consider. This means that more buyers will be eyeing the same automobiles that you’re considering. So, if you are interested in it, act quickly!

Gone are the days of test driving a vehicle multiple times before purchasing. While it is important to do your due diligence, it is also important to remain on the competitive side of car purchasing by making decisions swiftly.

Limit Negotiation

Another important piece to car shopping in the current new car shortage is to limit your negotiations with the car dealer. While getting the best price is always a top priority for any purchase you make, negotiating too much will open the door for other car shoppers to accept the car at a higher price.

With the car shortage, spending too much time negotiating risks that the dealer will engage with other potential buyers. Try to limit negotiations if possible. There are many other ways to ensure you get the best deal on your next car that doesn’t involve negotiating price.

Be Flexible

Car shopping in a car shortage can result in a longer wait for finding your next car. But if you can remain flexible on the car's make, model, color, and style, you can open up your shopping options significantly.

Instead of focusing on a car’s specifications that limit your search, change your perspective to searching for a car that isn’t as limited. Consider making your “wish list” for a vehicle based on the car’s functionality, and not its special bells and whistles.

Shop Outside Your City

Being open to traveling outside of your area for a car can also improve your inventory options. Broadening your search enables you to view inventory from more dealerships. 

Most car dealerships post their inventory online to attract potential buyers. Starting on these dealership websites can be a great place to explore the car options outside of your current area. Save yourself some time and call the dealership before making the trip to ensure their online inventory is updated.

Be Patient

Ultimately, the best thing you can do during the new car shortage is to be patient. While car shortages don’t make the most exciting or enjoyable car shopping journey, being aware of what you are walking into as a car buyer can be significant in changing your experience buying your next car.

Beat the New Car Shortage With Credit Union of America

Credit Union of America stands ready to help you find and purchase your car despite the new car shortage. With us, you can be approved online, over the phone, or in person. We also offer refinancing on your current auto loan to reduce payments or your term length.

If you do decide to finance with CUA, you will receive no origination fee, same-day approvals, and a half-price Carfax Report on your new vehicle. Click on the link below to get started today!


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