In those halcyon pre-pandemic days, pundits predicted that ridesharing and ride-hailing would bring the demise of personal car ownership as we know it. But COVID-19 put the kibosh on that meme for the foreseeable future, and instead piqued consumers’ interest in cars and light trucks, both new and used.
To be sure, when the virus appeared this past March and April, vehicle sales cratered: Many dealers closed showrooms, assembly lines shut down, and consumers sheltered in place. Automakers attempted to lure virus-shy buyers with interest-free financing and astonishingly long 84-month loans.
Then around May, the lockdowns eased, and consumers who still had income started kicking tires on car lots again—in part because the virus had made sharing cars and public transport with other people seem unsafe. And with summer coming, a road trip in one’s own vehicle seemed far more appealing than air travel or an ocean cruise.