To buy a car, you need money. To have money, you need a job, unless you’re cruising on investments. So for many of the 40 million unemployed Americans — only the most recent, crushing count — happy talk about buying a car is bound to chafe.
But while the pandemic is kneecapping new-car sales, which are expected to fall about 27 percent to just 12.5 million units in 2020, tens of millions of Americans will still buy a car this year. Used cars have generated 40 million to 45 million retail sales in recent years, dwarfing sales of new models.
So whether it’s industry rah-rah or not, the pandemic has automakers and dealers pulling out all the stops to lure shoppers back. While it’s a buyer’s market, consumers need good advice to navigate it without tripping themselves up — including by falling for screaming “deals” that aren’t what they’re cracked