What Happens if My Car Dealership Is Closed Due to Coronavirus?

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.

, Contributing Writer - April 2, 2020

Since many states have enacted shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders as a result of the coronavirus situation, affected dealerships are closing their showroom doors, even though some service departments remain open. But what do you do if you’re worried about keeping up with your payments, returning a leased vehicle, or having to buy a car? Here’s what some auto manufacturers and dealers are doing to help their customers during coronavirus.

Contact Your Lender About Payments

During the outbreak, many people have been put out of work, either temporarily or permanently, but lenders are working with their customers to help avoid defaults.

If you’ve financed or leased your vehicle through a carmaker’s finance company and you’re worried about making the monthly payments, you may be able to get payment assistance over the phone or online. The result is that, even as dealerships are closing their doors, lender websites and call lines are staying open to help borrowers.

Before you miss a payment, contact your lender and let them know. Many automakers and their finance divisions are working with borrowers that are affected by the stay-at-home orders on a case-by-case basis, and offering payment deferment programs, including the captive finance companies of these automakers:

  • General Motors
  • Hyundai (Job Loss Protection program)
  • Infiniti and Nissan
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Ford
  • Toyota

For those who are leasing, most of these same lenders have reached out and offered options to customers with vehicles coming off-lease.

Lease Extensions During COVID-19

If you have a lease ending soon, you may be worried about where you’re supposed to return the car if your dealer is closed. Some finance companies have worked out solutions for lessees whose dealerships have been closed due to the shelter-in-place orders in some states, and social distancing recommendations.

GM Financial is working with current lessees to help ease some stress, and they’re offering one-month lease extensions. For those who need longer extensions, they state “we’ll send you a lease extension agreement within 5-7 business days,” and have stated that you can complete the necessary paperwork online. According to GM Financial, a lease extension during the coronavirus “does not add to your current mileage allowance,” and “does not change the residual value of your vehicle.”

They’ve also said, “No need to contact us – if we don’t hear from you 10 days after your original termination date, we will automatically extend your lease for one month. You will receive notification at the address we have on file for you. Later, if more time is needed, we will work with you on a solution that meets your needs.”

Other captive lenders have discussed lease extension options, as well. Hyundai Motor Finance notes that they have “existing policies that allow customers to extend their lease,” and have job loss relief options for those who are affected by the lockdown, as reported by J.D. Power.

Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation is offering payment rescheduling for those affected by the virus, and has stated that those who need to discuss end-of-lease options should call their helpline. Honda Financial Services also has said that they are ready to work with borrowers on options for extensions and deferrals, and possibly waive late fees.

Additionally, Subaru Motors Finance has said that they can arrange for at-home pick-up for those whose lease is ending during the lockdown to preserve social distancing recommendations, and are also offering lessees the option to extend their current leases.

Most non-luxury automakers are willing to discuss options with their customers, and many have encouraged people to visit their websites and avoid calling due to long hold times. Many of these websites have online shopping options, as well.

Our site, CarsDirect, also allows you to browse new and used vehicles completely online without having to visit a dealer, as well as check out current car deals being offered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Car Buying Deals During Coronavirus

Automakers are not only offering payment assistance programs, but deals on select current models. Some captive lenders are offering deferred payment programs for borrowers that finance a new vehicle within a certain time frame.

Since dealership showrooms are closed due to shelter-in-place orders in some states, many dealers are also offering online buying options. Some have offered home drop-off options for those who would prefer to stay indoors. If you can’t access a showroom right now, you may find that a number of dealerships have started streamlining their online services while offering deals on select models. The result is that now might be a good time for you to finance your next car – completely from home.

Automakers offering car buying deals during COVID-19 include:

  • General Motors (Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac)
  • Ford and Lincoln
  • Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram)
  • Honda
  • Jeep
  • BMW
  • Kia
  • Mazda
  • Subaru
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

However, most of the deals being offered are reserved for buyers with good credit.

On the other hand, if you’re not quite ready to finance your next auto loan, now could be the time to begin your research and work to improve your credit to increase your chances of getting financed with a better interest rate. If you're ready and you have bad credit, and looking for a dealer to work with, we want to help.

At CarsDirect, we’re connected with dealerships across all states that work with subprime lenders that are equipped to work with borrowers in all types of unique credit situations. To get started, you can fill out our free and 100% online car loan request form.

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.

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