Survey Says

Autolist: Zero-percent financing offers driving new car sales as industry begins rebound

Many automakers are offering incentives to spur buyers into purchasing.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

According to a new survey by auto-shopping website Autolist.com, zero-percent financing offers currently have the biggest impact on car sales. Nearly half of the 1,436 respondents chose that option from a list as part of a survey conducted in April, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

"These are highly unusual and uncertain times for all consumers thanks to the coronavirus," said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist. "So it's no wonder that car shoppers prefer the long-term stability that zero-interest loans provide."

As part of the survey, respondents were asked to pick up to three types of incentives that would make them more likely to buy or lease a new or used vehicle at that moment. Survey takers could choose from the following options: zero-percent financing, flexible payment plans for loans or leases, deferred payments at the beginning of the loan or lease, limited-time payment forgiveness if a buyer loses their job, owner loyalty cash, waiving of late fees on loan or lease payments, other, unsure.

The results were as follows:

  • Zero-interest financing: 48 percent.
  • Flexible payment plans for loans or leases: 32 percent.
  • Deferred payments at the beginning of the loan or lease: 27 percent.
  • Limited-time payment forgiveness if a buyer loses their job: 24 percent.
  • Owner loyalty cash: 17 percent.
  • Waiving of late fees on loan or lease payments: 16 percent.
  • Other: 10 percent.
  • Unsure: 10 percent

Additionally, 13 percent of those who answered the survey said none of these offers would make them more likely to buy a car during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Consumers' mood really bottomed out in late March and early April, according to our poll," Disher said. "And while there is still a lot of uncertainty about recovery in the next few months, our data is showing that car shoppers are feeling confident in the long-term health of the economy and their decision to buy a car in 2020."

Most automakers are currently offering some level of incentive in an attempt to spur customers into purchasing. Autolist has a full rundown of the incentives that automakers are offering during the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.

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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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