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Buying cars online rather than at dealerships becomes the norm

The car buying experience is changing in the long run and that could mean less time at dealerships in the future.

Auto industry experts say the pandemic has changed the industry.

“Consumers are going to expect home delivery,” said Ian Isch, executive director of sales development at Edmunds. They are going to expect to get their prices transparent and the value of their cars in the aisle right now from the dealership. They’re going to expect quick text messages, they’re going to expect Facetime video type things, they’re going to expect these different realities that have come because of the pandemic in the future.

Before the pandemic, Tesla moved to selling cars entirely online.

Now, Ford is expected to release new rules soon on how it will sell electric cars. Company executives have hinted that they will sell electric cars online only at non-negotiable prices and will not carry large inventory at dealerships.

They say dealerships would still be important, but would be more specialized.

“Dealers have already switched to this specialty model,” Isch said. “However, in the future they will continue to offer this experience if they don’t need to have so many cars on their land. They don’t need to have yellow, orange, purple , the green, they can focus more on the education process and be very suitable for what you need from the online shopping side.

Isch said that in his experience working with dealerships, he doesn’t see them disappearing altogether. He expects the car buying process to be more hybrid with buying your car online and visiting the dealership.

Isch said he’s heard clients say they feel less pressure in the process this way. Not having extra cars on the lot can also save dealers money on things like insurance.