• Studies

Survey: Zero-interest financing is biggest draw during coronavirus crisis

By Analytics Team | May 5, 2020


  • Zero-percent financing offers are the most appealing coronavirus-related incentive for car shoppers.

  • Forty-eight percent of consumers said zero interest offers would make them more likely to buy a new or used vehicle during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Thirteen percent of consumers said no incentives would make them more likely to buy during the ongoing crisis.

  • Autolist’s data also shows the beginnings of a rebound in consumer sentiment.

Full story:

Zero-interest financing offers would have the biggest impact on car sales during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by Autolist.com.

The auto-shopping website asked current car shoppers what type of offer would make them more likely to buy a new or used vehicle during the current COVID-19 crisis. The most popular choice was zero-percent financing, with nearly half (48 percent) of respondents choosing this offer.

“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.”

Incentives (1)

Autolist’s poll was conducted during April 2020, and it surveyed 1,436 car shoppers.

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 during the coronavirus crisis.

Here’s a look at the incentive types respondents could choose from and the percentage that chose each:

  • 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 respondents said none of these offers would make them more likely to buy a car during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Numerous automakers are currently offering zero-interest financing on some, if not all, models. These brands include FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram), General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, GMC), Hyundai/Genesis & Kia, Nissan/Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Lincoln, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

A full rundown of the incentives that automakers are offering during the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.

Auto sales in the U.S. have taken a beating this spring because of the coronavirus, with deliveries dropping an estimated 50 percent in April.

However, there are already signs of recovery in late April, and some analysts are expecting the beginning of a rebound in May. Though many automakers did not report April sales, J.D. Power issued a report that showed four consecutive weeks of sales gains in April, as states across the country began lifting their respective shelter in place policies.

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Those sales gains mirror the results of Autolist’s ongoing survey looking at car-shoppers’ economic anxiety throughout the coronavirus crisis. Consumer confidence began trending upward in the second half of April as numerous states ended their shelter-in-place orders and businesses reopened.

“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.”

Autolist published the initial results of that poll in late March. The monthslong survey has continued running through the COVID-19 crisis, and we will be publishing an update on consumer sentiment and coronavirus-economic anxiety because of coronavirus later in May.

Autolist will continue to survey car shoppers throughout the coronavirus crisis and after it, to gauge its impact on the auto industry and the economy as a whole. We will publish future surveys regularly throughout 2020.