Dealerships

Infiniti Now provides customers with 1:1 digital shopping tool, inspection transparency

Infiniti is taking new steps to make customers comfortable purchasing their vehicles from the company.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

A new customer service plan from Infiniti is aimed at giving customers a luxury retail experiences as they continue to socially distance. Infiniti Now will also support drivers on the road.

Retailers can now schedule services to meet customers for vehicle delivery and pickup, mobile test drives, at-home vehicle delivery, and enhanced vehicle cleaning at a location that suits both parties and takes into account their level of comfortability. The retailers may also engage in enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas and the implementation of social distancing within dealerships.

2020 Infiniti QX80Infiniti is in the middle of a big two-year stretch of product refreshes and rollouts. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The personal digital shopping tool allows customers to have a 1:1 connection with Infiniti product experts. These experts can help INFINITI customers with everything from browsing and learning about the line-up to scheduling a test drive and getting their financing in order. The program can be accessed on www.infinitiusa.com or through a participating retailer website, and will empower consumers to speak with a local retailer via text or video.

Beta testing of Infiniti Now in select markets for evaluation and optimization has already begun, with a full roll-out for participating retailers beginning July 1, 2020.

Current Infiniti customers can receive a text from their dealership that features an interactive multi-point inspection of their vehicle. Called ICAR-X Service, this system will update the customer on their vehicle's condition after the technician completes the inspection. If any items require attention, the customer can authorize additional services from their phone with full transparency of pricing, allowing an exchange of information while respecting social distancing.

Additionally, Infiniti Now expands on previous financing commitments, and now offers deferred payments for up to 90 days on the purchase or lease of all new 2020 INFINITI models, in addition to 0 percent financing for 72 months.

Infiniti is in the middle of a big two-year stretch of product refreshes and rollouts. Many of its vehicles received infotainment system and design upgrades for the 2020 model year. The company is gearing up to launch the new QX55 SUV and has redesigned the QX60, which is slated to arrive on U.S. shores soon.

More information on INFINITI NOW is available at www.infinitiusa.com/coronavirus-covid-19.html.

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Comfortable midsize sedan

2022 Nissan Altima: Three things to know

The Nissan Altima is a good value and a comfortable car.

Nissan

The Nissan Altima may not get the attention or the praise that the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord get, but it's a solid entry in an ultra-competitive segment. It's also one of few options in its class with available all-wheel drive. We spent a week with the 2022 Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition with AWD and came away from the experience impressed. Here are three things to know about the car.

The 2022 Nissan Altima is a Good Value

With a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range and available all-wheel drive, it's hard to complain about value here. The Altima is still reasonably priced at the top end, where it maxes out at around $35,000 before options and fees. That's a great value for a spacious, comfortable car like the Altima, and with all-wheel drive it's a great all-weather commuter.

2022 Nissan AltimaNissan offers the Altima in several configurations.Nissan

2022 Altima Interior Space and Comfort are Generous

It's easy to ignore Nissan's Zero Gravity seats as another marketing buzzword, but they are legitimately comfortable and supportive in a way that not many others are. Available leather upholstery and contrast stitching give the interior an upscale feel, but even lower trims' cloth upholstery feels nice and works well from a visual standpoint. Up front, there's room for both passengers to stretch out, and the driver won't feel cramped on leg or headroom. Back-seat passengers get a similar treatment, as there's plenty of space for adults and kids. Parents will find an easy time loading and unloading car seats as well.

2023 Nissan AltimaThe Altima gets an update for 2023 with fresh styling and more tech.Nissan

The 2023 Nissan Altima Gets an Update

Nissan is refreshing the Altima for 2023 with a facelift, new tech, and better safety features. The new car will go on sale in the fall of 2022 and will come in several trims, including one with Nissan's truck VC-Turbo engine. The Altima's most noticeable update will be its front fascia, which is all-new for 2023. Nissan gives the car a fresh grille design that varies depending on the trim, and LED headlights will be standard. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard, and the Altima is available with all-wheel drive, ProPilot Assist, and more.

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The majority of new car buyers paid a markup in January 2022.

VW

It's no secret that new car prices are climbing every year, as new technology and features make their way into even the most basic models. The issue is compounded by massive supply chain issues that have caused vehicle shortages for nearly every major automaker. Some dealers are taking advantage of record low inventory levels by marking up prices, and unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to a handful of bad apples. In analyzing recent sale price data, automotive publication Edmunds found that buyers paid a markup in a whopping 82.2 percent of all new vehicle purchases in January 2022, compared to just 2.8 percent a year before. Overall, the average transaction price rose to $728 above MSRP for new car purchases.


Tesla factoryTesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory. Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Cadillac buyers saw the largest markups, to the tune of $4,048 on average in January. Land Rover and Kia weren't much better, with average markups of $2,565 and $2,289, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Alfa Romeo buyers got discounts that averaged $3,421, while people who bought Volvo or Lincoln vehicles got smaller discounts of $869 and $510, respectively.

Some automakers have taken a stand against dealer markups and the general lack of transparency seen in pricing across the board. Ford and General Motors have been vocal in recent months, threatening to withhold inventory from dealers found to be slapping markups on new vehicles. As Edmunds notes, both automakers have important vehicle launches on the horizon that neither can afford to flub, and inconsistent pricing or markups is a good way to alienate new customers out of the gate.


Cadillac EscaladeCadillac buyers paid the largest markups of any brand. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

If you're thinking of shopping for a new car, the best way to avoid paying a markup is to wait. The pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues have thrown kinks into every automaker's operations that will take time to iron out. That said, it's clear that some brands are committed to having no funny business when it comes to dealerships' pricing and communication. It's possible to get a vehicle at MSRP, or even below in some cases, so if you're in a position that requires you to buy a new car, shop around to get the best deal.

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