Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Despite economic uncertainty, many car shoppers still expecting to buy in 2020

A new Autolist survey shows that American car buyers are still likely to buy a car in 2020, just not right now.

Photo by Getty Images

As the stock market see-saws between positive and negative territory on an almost daily basis, the chief question for automakers is, "Will people still buy our cars?" There's no need to produce more vehicles if no one has plans to buy the ones already on dealership lots.

A recent Autolist survey of 1,500 current car shoppers found that many had worries about the economy but were still planning on buying a vehicle at some point this year.

Respondents submitted their answers between March 2 and March 24. On March 12, the COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The results received between March 2 and 11 were grouped together and those received post-pandemic announcement were grouped separately.

According to Autolist,

"Prior to the pandemic declaration on March 11, 80 percent of the car shoppers Autolist polled said they didn't expect the coronavirus to affect their decision to buy a vehicle in 2020. That number fell to 60 percent for shoppers who responded after the pandemic declaration."

Many automakers are recognizing the road ahead is uphill. They are currently offering heavy incentives and zero percent financing for qualified customers. Still, J.D. Power has revised its new vehicle sales projections for 2020 for 16.8 million sales to between 14 and 16 million, estimating that March sales will end up down around 41 percent from 2019.

Some vehicle sales companies, like Carvana, offer the opportunity to purchase a vehicle online, with very little human-to-human contact. Cadillac recently launched a virtual shopping experience and Ford is promoting low-risk vehicle maintenance services in addition to producing supplies for medical workers to use to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.

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The 2023 Sportage Hybrid starts at around $28,000.

Kia

Kia's moving full steam ahead to an all-electric future, but the automaker's intermediate models should not be overlooked. Kia and Hyundai do hybrids as well as anyone, and the 2023 Sportage Hybrid is coming soon with new tech, updated styling, and a value-forward price. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale in spring.

2023 Kia Sportage HybridThe Sportage Hybrid delivers up to 39 mpg.Kia

Kia offers the Sportage hybrid in three trims: The $28,505 LX, $32,205 EX, and $37,405 SX-Prestige. All models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a 44kW electric motor that combine to produce 226 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter is standard, and all-wheel drive become standard at the EX trim. The powertrain is efficient for an SUV, delivering up to 39 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive.

Kia says the Sportage Hybrid's interior features a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for almost 25 inches of display. Standard tech is generous, and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also plenty of safety tech. Kia adds standard gear that includes:

  • Driver attention warning system
  • LED headlights
  • Lane following assist and lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warnings with cyclist detection
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Rearview monitor
  • Reverse parking distance warnings
Several optional features are available, including blind spot warnings, forward parking distance warnings, navigation-based cruise control, and more.

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2021 Honda Ridgeline
Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The used car market is a tough place to be right now, as new vehicle shortages have driven big demand and big price increases across the board. Finding deals is harder than ever, and many models are being sold for nearly what it'd cost to buy them new. Certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can be a good alternative to new cars, and may be worth paying the price if you're desperate. Honda is looking to sweeten the deal by extending its CPO programto older vehicles. Called HondaTrue Used and Acura Precision Used, the program should attract younger buyers and people with stricter budgets.

Honda CPONo. 18 - Honda Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

It's important to note that Honda isn't slapping a 100,000-mile warranty onto a ten-year old car. The updated program includes coverage for 100 days or 5,000 miles on cars up to ten years old. That's a drop in the bucket compared to Honda's and Acura's traditional CPO vehicles, which get a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That said, the older cars still get a 112-point inspection. Parts are replaced or repaired as necessary before the sale.

Honda CPO2015 Honda Civic Sedan & Coupe Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The move looks like a great one for buyers, who will get the opportunity to shop for older cars that still offer some degree of warranty coverage. Older models are less expensive but can be less reliable, so the addition of a manufacturer's backing makes buyers more comfortable and opens up more options to ease inventory shortages.

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