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AAA survey: 1 in 10 consumers more likely to purchase a new car due to COVID-19

Posted at 2:02 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 19:05:55-04

A recent AAA survey found 1 in 10 consumers say COVID-19 will play a factor in purchasing a new or used vehicle in the next 6 months due to incentives and low interest rates being offered. Millennials (14%) are also more likely to buy a vehicle in the next 6 months than Baby Boomers (7%). As Americans return to work, school and vacations in the coming months -- how we approach life will look very different and car buying is no exception.

For those in the market to purchase a new vehicle, AAA offers the following advice when working with a dealership or private seller.

  • Do as much research online and over the phone. You may be able to complete the entire transaction virtually without having to visit a dealership.
  • If a buyer prefers face-to-face interaction and having the ability to browse and test drive cars, keep the following in mind.
    • Call the dealership and ask about their policy regarding in-person visits. There may be a limit to the number of customers and other precautions they are taking to observe social distancing guidelines. Many dealerships are also offering to bring vehicles to a buyer’s home to look over and test drive.
    • With a private buyer, make sure you can conduct business without having to enter their home or business. If you decide to test drive the vehicle, consider wearing gloves, a mask, and using hand sanitizer as needed. Ask if the seller will allow you to test drive alone or if they would consider sitting in the back seat.

AAA is also offering the AAA Car Guide, a complete guide that provides objective reviews and information on the latest trends in vehicle technology.

The AAA Car Guide is an evolution of the popular AAA Green Car Guide, the book that focused on fuel-efficient, low-emitting cars and trucks. The 2020 version has expanded the types of vehicles it reviews and ranks to include vehicles that are all new or completely redesigned and that include the latest automotive safety technology, including advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

In the first edition of the newly released AAA Car Guide, AAA announced a 2020 Volvo luxury sedan has earned the top score. The majority of the category winners for 2020 are either electric, plug-in electric hybrids or hybrids, signaling that eco-friendly vehicles tend to offer the most cutting-edge vehicle technology.

“With an increasing number of vehicles equipped with advanced safety features, we thought consumers would benefit from an in-depth review of how they stack up with other driving criteria,” said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Nevada. "Previous AAA studies have shown that many drivers don’t understand some of the features in their new vehicles and believe they can do more than is technically possible.”

Each vehicle evaluation was based on 13 criteria, including braking, fuel economy, emissions, handling, ride comfort, acceleration and the number of ADAS safety features. These vehicles are tested, scored and placed in one of five vehicle categories by the Automotive Research Center (ARC) of the Automobile Club of Southern California, a member of the AAA federation of motor clubs.

Highest ranked by category are:

Overall2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design (plug-in hybrid [aaa.us3.list-manage.com])

2019 Nissan Leaf SV Plus (electric [aaa.us3.list-manage.com])

2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE (hybrid) [aaa.us3.list-manage.com]

2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design (plug-in hybrid [aaa.us3.list-manage.com])

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 2WD Crew Cab SLT (diesel) [aaa.us3.list-manage.com]

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited (plug-in hybrid) [aaa.us3.list-manage.com]

Best Under $30,000
2019 Honda Insight 4-door Touring (hybrid) [aaa.us3.list-manage.com]

Best $30,000-$50,000
2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium (electric) [aaa.us3.list-manage.com]

Best Over $50,000
2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design (plug-in hybrid [aaa.us3.list-manage.com])

The AAA Car Guide also contains a compendium of AAA’s recent research of current automotive technologies and topics, such as advanced driver-assistance systems, gasoline quality, the advantages of synthetic oil, reduced tire traction in wet-weather driving, and headlight effectiveness.

Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the ADAS technology can be found at aaa.com/carguide.