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The coronavirus pandemic has seemingly changed, even if just for the time being, the way American consumers shop and purchase goods across all sectors. In the midst of all this change, automakers are offering attractive financing incentives to help meet the needs of buyers who still want to purchase a new vehicle. These new car loan deals include loan payment deferrals and low-interest rate incentives for qualified buyers. 

Of course, the car deals landscape continues to adjust at a rapid clip. To see the latest financing incentives and cash back deals, hop over to our frequently updated new car deals page. If you’re in the lease market, you’ll find the best new car lease incentives on our lease deals page

While incentives to purchase a new vehicle are enticing at the moment, it is critical that you carefully analyze your financial flexibility and the car buying market before making any financial commitments during this time.

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Low-Interest Incentives and Payment Deferral Programs

Many automakers are advertising interest rates as low as zero percent. Loan lengths vary by manufacturer, but most range from three to six years. Most of the seven-year zero percent offers that were available in the spring have expired.

While it’s easy to get excited about such low rates, be sure to consider the pros and cons of the loan length. We normally don’t recommend long-term auto loans because you’re likely to be underwater for a good portion of the loan term and your loan can last longer than the vehicle’s warranty coverage. If the financing incentive has a zero percent interest rate, taking it is not as bad of a decision as a long-term loan with a higher interest rate, as you won’t accrue the extra cost of interest during the loan. 

For more information about why we generally don’t recommend long term loans, read Why are 72-month and 84-month Auto Loans a Bad Idea? In most cases, if you need a seven-year loan to buy a car, you probably are looking at a car you really can’t afford. 

A few manufacturers are advertising first-payment deferrals to go along with new car loans. The length of the payment deferral period varies among the automakers, ranging between 30 and 180 days.

Note that all low-interest incentives and loan payment deferral opportunities are available for those who qualify and are subject to the automaker’s approval on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, interest continues to accrue during the deferral period. If the loan has a zero percent interest rate, that’s not an issue. If you are paying interest, a loan deferral will make the vehicle cost more in the long run than if you didn’t delay the first payment. Some states place limits on the length of payment deferral programs, and the interest rate that can be charged during the deferment period.

Even if the loan rate is zero percent, taking a deferral if you don’t really need one isn’t a great idea. Your car will continue to depreciate during the deferral period, but you won’t be paying down your loan principal. That can put you deeper underwater than you were before, or move you from having positive to negative equity. For more information about what it means to be underwater on your financing, read our guide to upside-down car loans.

If you must have a first-payment deferral to be able to buy a new car, you should consider whether right now is a good time to buy, or whether you should put off your purchase for a few months.

For more information about new car financing and securing a loan, read How to Finance a Car and Get a Car Loan.

Dealership Changes in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dealerships are adapting the way in which they connect with car buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be disinfecting showrooms multiple times per day or expanding virtual shopping experiences, dealership employees are assisting consumers in the most health-conscious manner possible. Many automakers are helping dealerships with online showroom tours and purchasing tools. Online car purchases can be daunting for the uninitiated, so make sure to read How to Buy a Car Online for more information and guidance.

Since no dealership is the same, it is important that you contact your local dealer to find out how they can help you through the buying process. For more information on the novel coronavirus and its impact on the automobile industry, read Coronavirus and Cars: What You Need to Know.

The U.S. News Best Price Program can help you identify local dealerships with programs to complete paperwork online and the ability to deliver cars to your home. 

Current Deals in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here are the best deals that automakers have announced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Availability and deal duration may vary by region and most financing deals require top-notch credit scores. Keep in mind that your local dealership is the best source of information for available car deals.

It’s important to remember that the best car deals and lease deals go to shoppers with top-notch credit. Those with lower scores can likely find cheaper financing from lenders outside of dealerships. 

“Only a very small population is going to qualify for those loans. The A+ credit super primes,” says Joe Pendergast, vice president of Consumer Lending at Navy Federal Credit Union. “The rest of the population – the captives can finance them, but the banks and credit unions are probably going to be able to finance them at a better rate.”

Acura:

  • First month’s payment deferral for up to 90 days for qualifying customers when financing through Acura Financial Services.
  • Up to $3,000 in Loyalty Purchase Assistance Cash; certain exclusions apply.
  • $750 discount on a purchase or lease for first responders and healthcare professionals. 
  • Special financing rates on some certified pre-owned vehicles. 

Alfa Romeo:

  • Deferred payments for up to 90 days. This includes the 2019 and 2020 Stelvio as well as the 2019 and 2020 Giulia.
  • Upon purchasing a new vehicle, Alfa Romeo offers home delivery, where available.
  • $500 discount for first responders or medical professionals. 
  • $1,000 in loyalty cash for current FCA customers.

Audi:

  • Zero percent financing for five years on select 2019 models.
  • Zero percent financing for three years on select 2020 models.
  • 60-day first payment deferrals on the purchase of new 2019 and 2020 models
  • 1.99% financing for 66 months on most 2016 to 2019 Audi certified pre-owned cars, plus Audi will make your first payment of up to $750.

BMW:

  • 0.9% financing for up to five years on any 2019 or 2020 BMW model.
  • Up to $2,500 purchase credit on select 2019 and 2020 BMW models.
  • 90-day first payment deferrals for qualifying customers.
  • 0.9% financing on all 2016-2018 BMW Certified models.
  • Loyalty lease credits for two payments totaling up to $2,500.

Buick:

  • Zero percent financing for up to six years on most Buick models.
  • Leases with zero due at signing on some models.
  • Monthly loan payment deferral for up to 120 days on most models when financing through GM Financial.
  • Additional discounts for healthcare professionals and first responders. 
  • GM “Shop. Click. Drive.” home delivery option from many dealers. 

Cadillac:

  • Deferred payments for up to 120 days on some models when financing through GM Financial.
  • 0.9% financing for six years plus up to $1,500 cash back on many models.
  • Zero percent financing for five years plus up to $1,500 cash back on many models.
  • Additional discounts for healthcare professionals and first responders. 
  • GM “Shop. Click. Drive.” home delivery option from many dealers. 
  • 2.9% financing for five years plus 90-day first payment deferral on certified pre-owned Cadillacs.

Chevrolet:

  • No-interest financing for up to six years on most 2019 models and the 2020 Equinox, 2020 Silverado and 2020 Trax.
  • Leases with zero due at signing on some models.
  • Deferred payments for up to 120 days on some models when financing through GM Financial
  • Additional discounts for healthcare professionals and first responders. 
  • GM “Shop. Click. Drive.” home delivery option from many dealers. 

Chrysler:

  • Deferred payments for up to 90 days on the 2019 and 2020 Chrysler 300, as well as the gas-only 2020 Pacifica Limited when financed through Chrysler Capital.
  • Deferred payments for up to 90 days on the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica, when financed through Chrysler Capital.
  • Employee pricing on 2020 Pacifica models.
  • Online purchasing and home delivery from select dealerships

Dodge:

  • Deferred payments for up to 90 days on select Dodge models when financed through Chrysler Capital.
  • Dodge Power Dollars cash back of $10 per horsepower on Charger, Challenger, and Durango.
  • Online purchasing and home delivery from select dealerships

Fiat:

  • First payment deferral for up to 90 days.
  • Up to $3,000 cash back on several 2019 and 2020 models.

Ford:

  • Zero percent financing for various terms on many Ford vehicles
  • $500 bonus cash for first responders and medical professionals.

Genesis:

  • Zero percent financing for up to six years on the 2019 Genesis G70, G80, and G90.
  • Up to $3,000 cash back on 2020 models.

GMC:

  • No-interest financing for up to six years on most 2020 models.
  • Leases with zero due at signing on some models.
  • A loan payment deferral up to 120 days is also available for qualified buyers when financing through GM Financial.
  • Additional discounts for healthcare professionals and first responders. 
  • GM “Shop. Click. Drive.” home delivery option from many dealers. 

Honda:

  • A 90-day deferred payment program is available for those who finance through Honda Financial Services.
  • Zero-down leases available on the 2020 CR-V, 2020 HR-V, and 2020 Civic.
  • Honda also offers a loyalty and conquest cash bonuses up to $1,000 on select models; some exclusions apply.
  • $500 discount on a purchase or lease for first responders and healthcare professionals. 
  • Special financing rates on certified pre-owned vehicles. 

Hyundai:

  • Zero percent financing on some 2019 models for up to seven years.
  • No-interest financing for up to seven years plus 90 days until the first payment is due on the 2020 Hyundai Tucson and the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe when financed through Hyundai Motor Finance. 
  • The 2020 Venue is available with no-interest financing for up to three years.
  • $500 discount on a purchase or lease for first responders and healthcare professionals.

Infiniti:

  • Special financing offers for qualified buyers across the Infiniti lineup with zero percent financing for 72 months on all 2020 models.
  • No payments due for 90 days when financed or leased through Infiniti Financial Services. 

Jaguar:

  • 90-day first payment deferral program on all new 2020 Jaguar models and the 2020 Jaguar F-Type.
  • Zero percent financing for up to six years on most Jaguar models.
  • 0.9% financing for two years or 1.9% financing for three years on certified pre-owned models.

Jeep:

  • Deferred payments for up to 90 days when financed through Chrysler Capital.

Kia:

Land Rover:

  • 90-day first payment deferral program on select Land Rover models financed for up to $100,000. 
  • Zero percent financing on most Land Rover models.
  • 0.9% financing for two years or 1.9% financing for three years on certified pre-owned models.

Lexus:

  • First-payment deferrals for up to 90 days (or up to 45 days in the state of Pennsylvania) on most 2019 and 2020 models when financed through Lexus Financial Services.
  • Select 2020 models are available with zero financing for up to five years.
  • Zero percent financing on select L/Certified pre-owned vehicles with no payments for up to 90 days.
  • Lexus deals are regional and may not be available in all areas.

Lincoln:

  • A 120-day first-payment deferral on all 2019 and 2020 Lincoln models when financed through Lincoln Automotive Financial Services.
  • Military and First Responder discount program now open to medical professionals.
  • Home delivery available for Lincoln Black Label vehicles.  

Mazda:

  • Zero percent financing for up to five years on all models.
  • Deferred payments for 90 days.
  • $1,500 customer loyalty reward. 
  • 1.9% financing for five years and no payments for 90 days on certified pre-owned cars.

Mercedes-Benz:

  • 1% financing for three years on most models.
  • 1.99% financing for three years plus first month’s payment credit on select certified pre-owned models.

Mini:

  • Mini pays the first three payments (up to $330 per month) on the lease or purchase of most 2020 Mini models.

Mitsubishi:

  • Payment deferrals for up to 90 days when financed through Ally Financial. 
  • Zero percent financing for up to six years plus up to $500 bonus cash on some models.

Nissan:

  • 90-day payment deferral plus Nissan pays two monthly payments on many 2020 Nissan models when financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. 
  • 90-day payment deferral on most 2019 and 2020 models, plus several certified pre-owned models when financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. 
  • Zero percent financing for seven years plus bonus cash on the 2019 Nissan Frontier, Titan, and Titan XD pickup trucks.

Porsche:

  • 1.95% financing for five years on select 2020 Porsche 911, Macan, Panamera, and Cayenne models.
  • 1.95% financing for five years on Certified Pre-owned Porsche models.
  • No payments for 90 days.

Ram:

  • Loan payment deferrals for up to 90 days when financed through Chrysler Capital.

Subaru:

  • Zero percent financing for 63 months on the 2020 Subaru Outback, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, and Ascent
  • First payment deferment for up to 90 days on a case-by-case basis.
  • 0.99% financing for a limited term on Subaru certified pre-owned vehicles.

Toyota:

  • Payment deferral for up to 90 days (up to 45 days in the state of Pennsylvania) on new and certified pre-owned Toyotas when financed through Toyota Financial Services.
  • Zero percent financing for various terms on select Toyota vehicles, including all hybrid models and the 2020 Toyota Supra.
  • Many Toyota deals are regional. Check with your local dealer or use our Toyota deals page to find the best deals available in your area. 
  • Special financing offers on certain Toyota certified pre-owned vehicles.

Volkswagen:

Volvo:

  • Zero percent financing for five years on the 2020 Volvo S60, XC90, XC40, and XC60.
  • 1.99% financing for up to six years and Volvo pays the first two monthly payments on specific certified used Volvos.

Coronavirus Resources From U.S. News & World Report

It is the mission of U.S. News & World Report to help you through life’s major decisions and events. We’ve created a centralized hub of coronavirus information to help you and your family weather this storm. We have resources ranging from how to avoid being infected to understanding your rights as a traveler with canceled vacation plans. Our education team has resources to guide you through changing financial aid policies and how to move your education online. 

The U.S. News Money team offers a wealth of information about navigating today's turbulent financial environment while helping you protect your savings and retirement.

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