By the time the coronavirus was sweeping the nation, Ali Jian, 42, a consultant in northern Virginia, already knew he wanted to replace his 2014 Subaru Forester with something bigger for his growing family. He decided on a new minivan but held off buying because dealers wouldn’t budge much on price.
But the pandemic forced many dealerships to close in March and April, and auto sales plummeted. The glut of inventory from the slowdown in sales led to deals and incentives, including 0 percent financing, deferred payments, and big discounts.
Jian decided this past spring was the time to buy. He focused on a 2020 Honda Odyssey he found through Costco’s car buying service, which gave him access to a nationwide network of more than 3,000 dealers. Costco offered a guaranteed price that was more than $6,000 below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and connected him with a local