By Meghan Carbary and Bethany Hickey

Has your store seen a slump in sales driven by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic fallout? Now is the time to focus up and start adjusting to a new normal. Since there's no way to predict how long these struggles will persist, it's in your best interest to take advantage of all the business you can muster, and we want to help.

The pandemic hasn't been kind to everyone, including prospects who have seen a dip in their credit score thanks to the economic upset. There's now a greater need for dealerships to offer special financing to these people who've fallen into situational bad credit circumstances.

COVID and the Impact on Subprime Auto Leads

COVID and Auto Sales: Impacts on the Subprime MarketThe economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 has created stressful environments for many consumers and businesses alike. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, or were forced to take time off without pay. Even those fortunate enough to collect unemployment are facing the challenges of getting the auto loans they need while collecting that temporary income.

Lack of continuous income isn't the only thing hurting a large swath of the American population right now. Many Americans also took on deferment or forbearance plans for loans they already had. Thanks to the newly enacted CARES act, these programs aren’t supposed to hurt consumer credit. However, the same can't be said for other bills without deferment or forbearance programs available.

The outcome has shifted many prospects into a realm they're unfamiliar with – the realm of the subprime consumer. People who used to have spotless credit may be finding themselves coming out the other side of this pandemic with negative marks, and needing special financing.

This means a whole new class of consumers could be coming through your doors as they seek dealers ready to meet their needs. Are you ready to take on the challenge and grow your business?

Prospects Ready to Take the Plunge

Gaining a whole new group of prospects can be a big boost for your sales, but they're not the only consumers who are in a unique position to buy. Many existing subprime consumers seem to have taken advantage of the time allowed by the pandemic to work on their credit, and save up the down payment that they typically had trouble collecting pre-pandemic.

With more and more people setting up home offices, and spending less on the daily trivialities that lead to living paycheck to paycheck, many Americans have found themselves able to start a savings that would have otherwise been impossible to come by.

This means more and more people are preparing for something they never thought possible – having a large down payment for their next car. Many Americans were given stimulus checks and unemployment benefits which have given them more savings, and they're ready to meet a down payment requirement.

At first, many people worried that less commuter traffic would lead the vehicle to go the way of the dinosaur when this whole thing started. But, as it turns out, cars are getting a fresh look from families who are trying to recapture the nearly lost art of the great American road trip. Many people are taking a fresh look at ways to entertain their families and stay safe, which often leads to outdoor activities and hitting the open road.

Facing the COVID Challenge Head-On

Subprime leads are also a great way to move used inventory; more and more customers are gravitating toward the used car market. This goes for people across the credit score spectrum.

"More consumers are looking for value in their next car purchase due to the economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights for Edmunds. "Thanks to a shortage of new vehicle inventory, more automakers and dealerships have leaned into promoting attractive certified pre-owned programs, which might be driving more typical new car shoppers into the used market."

Additionally, more consumers who are trading in their current vehicles are opting for used cars instead of turning to new vehicles. But overall, more consumers have rolled into the market without a trade-in. This could point to a growing number of first-time buyers who may have previously relied on public transportation – something many people view as no longer safe.

With states starting the journey of opening things back up, and attempting to do so safely, consumers are ready to return to a new normal, and eager to get out of the house. Are you ready to take on the customers with drops in their credit reports as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, or take in subprime borrowers who are ready for financing?

Taking In Subprime Auto Sales Leads

Subprime customers can be a great avenue to clear out your used car inventory; they're motivated to buy and loyal. These prospects, who may have already been turned away by traditional lenders, tend to be grateful to the dealer that helps them get back on the road. Due to this, subprime consumers often become repeat customers, and that loyalty can be catching. People who get help when they thought they were out of options often help drive word of mouth traffic to you as well.

So, if you're not taking advantage of subprime leads yet, now may be the time. Even as the pandemic affects the economy, many buyers are ready to get the goods and services they need while the getting is good – before any future closures become necessary. Plus, with buyers having unemployment bonuses, and possibly bolstered savings from a stimulus check, subprime leads who didn’t have a down payment may now be raring to go.

If you're ready to take hold of a market that's motivated to buy, and get a steady stream of leads coming into your showroom, get started with us at Auto Credit Express. We’ve been a subprime lead generator for over 20 years, and we’re prepared to send prospects to you.

With our network of automotive websites, we can filter leads according to your specific needs. Whether you want to target a set of parameters based on geographic area, specific income level, credit score, or even bankruptcy discharge, we've got you covered. You set the specifications and we deliver leads that fit the bill.

Our Services

Using our network of automotive websites, you have many choices on how you can increase your visibility. We specialize in converting motivated internet prospects into sales for dealerships nationwide.

With our BDC call center, we verify lead information and prepare them for their trip to your location, streamlining the entire process for you. Additionally, we focus on first contact (which we know translates to more contracts) and we do it without the person-to-person contact that is so contentious right now due to COVID-19.

We also offer a wide array of other services to meet your needs such as direct mail and bankruptcy marketing, which can help boost your business. Using our targeted direct mail marketing, your store can get its advertising into the hands of motivated buyers.

Additionally, using our exclusive partnership with CarsDirect Connect, you can serve up listings for new and used vehicles on over 300 automotive websites within our network.

Start the Conversation

Behind the fog of a hazy future, the world is holding its breath. Americans, it seems, are slated to be the last that may breathe a sigh of relief once the medical and financial burdens of the pandemic have lifted. The global pandemic is reaching far beyond what anyone may have originally thought, and many people are taking stock of a world not as "back to normal" as they had hoped for.

But, the showroom must go on – start the conversation with Auto Credit Express and start getting motivated buyers into your location right away. Contact us by phone at 888-535-2277 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about our car sales leads and other dealership products and services.