Getting a car in NYC
March 21, 2020 11:16 PM   Subscribe

I live in New York with husband and two young kids. We’ve never owned a car. We want to own a car, stat. How do we get one, is it even possible now?

I’m pretty sure we just want a Subaru Outback; family members have that we’ve driven and we’ve rented them before and been very happy.

Renting is NOT AN OPTION. Open to leasing.

NY Governor has ordered all non-essential businesses to close tomorrow. I called a couple dealerships who said their service staff are considered essential and will stay open but sales staff are going to start “working remotely” starting tomorrow but don’t know what that means for actual sales and delivery.

I’ve also never been a car owner or insured driver, neither has my husband. We are in our early 40s. What are the steps we have to take (loan pre-approval, insurance, what else do we need?) and how long do those take. And are those even possible now? What are anticipated disruptions to those processes?

I also see Costco has a car selling service and a notice that they’re currently endeavoring to do car sales with limited contact; my family has a Costco membership.

Less concerned with getting best possible negotiated price and more with expediency and keeping distance.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can do it through Costco remotely, financing and all and have the car delivered or pick it up. Given your constraints that's likely the best option. It's hard to get a deal on an Outback anyway so you'll likely not pay much if any more.
posted by fshgrl at 12:18 AM on March 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can search for and purchase vehicles online at Carvana, and they will deliver to NYC. If I recall correctly, you do not need insurance when you purchase, but you will need to show proof of insurance when the vehicle is delivered.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:32 AM on March 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

I doubt “stat” is going to be all that stat right now. Think hard about it. Your choice to get a car now will require a dozen or more people to work to get it for you. That’s not social distancing for them. They’re scared. They shouldn’t be working. Their bosses are making them work if they are and they’re working because they can’t afford not to if they are.

Look on Craigslist and buy the nearest used recent model toyota or Honda you can find for cash if you must. Getting a brand new car delivered is not going to happen in New York City, I suspect, for weeks. And dealers aren’t going to be open much longer if they are.
posted by spitbull at 4:23 AM on March 22, 2020

I was uninsured for less than a year before purchasing a new car a few months ago. My previous insurers wanted to double my rates and I got the same figure when I phoned around to other companies. Then I tried going through an insurance broker and got a quote that wasn't much over my old rate. You'll get a cheaper rate if you’re willing to shift your tenants insurance over as well.

Once you've settled on the car, the broker will draw up everything and can send the required documents to the dealership. The dealership should be able to take your info and deal with the licensing.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:37 AM on March 22, 2020

If you're quite insistent on getting on asap, call the dealers and ask what Outbacks they have on their lots right now. They might be the test driving vehicles. Pick the one you want.

We bought a 2019 Outback last April and love it. Financing was very easy - filled out the information at the dealership, they gave an offer, we signed it, done.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:25 AM on March 22, 2020

FWIW, Carvana has a new contactless process for delivery. Everything is done digitally or over the phone. It still might take several days for delivery if your desired car is out-of-state.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:24 AM on March 22, 2020

I just purchased a car (!!!) through Carvana, and it will be delivered through contactless delivery tomorrow evening. I finalized the purchase yesterday. I found their services to be very good, pricing is good, customer service was wonderful. I financed through them, and received a rate lower than many other in-person places were willing to give me (I'm young and don't have the best credit). Approval for financing takes maybe 10 minutes? The whole process took about an hour, about 2 hours later an underwriter called me on the phone and asked for more income verification, they wanted my pay stubs. I sent them in the next morning, and a few hours later I got a call that everything was good, the car was mine, delivery will be Monday. If I had access to my work system from home the whole thing would have been done same-day in a few hours. They handle registering the car in your state, getting the tags and title in your name, as most dealers do.

It looks like they're suspending pick-ups for their closest location - Philadelphia- until April 6th, as well as delaying delivery to NYC until April 7th, though they're delivering within Philly as early as this Wednesday, the 25th. And, as others have stated, it's contacltess delivery. If you could get down to Phildelphia to take posession/do the test drive/etc, that might work.

As far as car insurance goes, that can be done %100 online and is very easy, you should have no trouble with that. It's easier to buy insurance once you know the exact car that you'll be purchasing. But it's pretty much instantaneous. You pick the company, give them your car and personal information, they quote you, you pay for it, and at that exact moment you are insured.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:57 AM on March 22, 2020

I bought a Subaru just a few weeks ago. We moved back to the states from the UK and didnt have a car. I wanted very badly to just do all the stuff over the phone but I did have to go into the dealership for a few hours.

I got preapproved through my bank, online. Then I found a model online I wanted, went in and test drove it. I couldn't stand to be at the dealership for much longer than that so I went home and slept on it and then went back and bought it.

I feel good about the Subie because it gets good gas mileage, will be reliable and has high resale value. They aren't likely to haggle or deal for those reasons so for price what you see is likely what you get.

Look online at the KBB values, and on the Subaru website for what options come standard on what models, so that you can double check the price.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:27 AM on March 22, 2020

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