Consumers Will Drive Up to 363 Miles to Buy Some Car Models

Consumers are willing to go the extra mile to get the cars they desire during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds data reveals that new vehicle inventory is down by nearly 20% compared to the same time last year and, as a result, car shoppers are expanding their online searches to include dealerships that are farther away. According to Edmunds website data, car shoppers indicated that they were willing to drive 47 miles on average for outgoing 2019 model year vehicles in January 2020. In January 2021, car shoppers indicated that they were willing to drive 65 miles on average for outgoing 2020 model year vehicles, nearly a 20-mile increase year over year.

“New car inventory was already tight due to coronavirus-related factory shutdowns from last year, and the current global chipset shortage has exacerbated the situation,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “But car shoppers aren’t being dissuaded by the lack of inventory. They’re demonstrating that they’re ready to literally go the distance to get their hearts’ desire, even in the midst of a pandemic.”

Edmunds analysts have created a Valentine’s Day-themed “Most Desired Vehicles” barometer, which takes into account all car shopping leads submitted on Edmunds and identifies vehicles that car shoppers indicated they were willing to drive the farthest distance to obtain. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class clinched the No. 1 spot in the hearts of car shoppers, commanding an average distance of 363 miles. The Toyota GR Supra came in second, with consumers indicating they’d be willing to drive an average of 167 miles. The Kia Stinger came in third, rating an average distance of 166 miles from willing car shoppers. The complete Top 25 list of Most Desired Vehicles can be found below and on Edmunds.

“By looking at the vehicles that topped the list, it’s clear that different motivations are pushing car shoppers to go long distance,” said Caldwell. “Consumers with more eclectic or expensive tastes are going out of their way to get the cars that they want, but we’re also seeing that consumers are willing to travel farther for more affordable, high-demand options as well.”

Ahead of Valentine’s Day and the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, Edmunds experts note that car shoppers who are willing to travel longer distances for their next vehicle purchase should consider taking some important steps before hitting the road to save time and stay safe:

  • Test-drive a similar vehicle closer to home. Edmunds experts strongly recommend driving the vehicle before you buy it to make sure it feels right before you make a big financial commitment. If the dealership with the specific make and model you have your heart set on is out of town, schedule a test drive with a similar vehicle at your local dealership. You might find out that some of your must-haves might actually be nice-to-haves and aren’t worth spending the time on the road for. Dealerships also trade cars all the time, so it’s possible your local dealer can work with the one out of town and have it shipped.
  • Get your trade-in appraisal online. If you have a trade-in, Edmunds experts note that it’s a good idea to figure out how much you can sell yours for so you can determine what to put down on a new car.
  • Do as much paperwork at home as possible. Work with the dealer to complete as much of the necessary paperwork online, including your loan application, so that you can spend minimal time at the dealership.
  • Ask about delivery. Some dealers will deliver your new vehicle to your door, so be sure to ask. You might be able to skip the big drive altogether.

“If you have your heart set on a vehicle that’s a long drive away, the good news is that you can take most steps from the comfort of home,” said Ivan Drury. “Dealerships have done a good job of bringing so much more of the car shopping process online in response to the pandemic. As long as you’re willing to do some extra research and prep work beforehand, you can feel confident in committing to a car purchase even if it’s a long drive away.”

Top 25 Most Desired Vehicles,
Ranked by Greatest Average Lead Distance Submitted on Edmunds (2021 Model Year)

Vehicle Make

Vehicle Model

Average Lead Distance
Submitted on
Edmunds (miles)

Mercedes-Benz

G-Class

363

Toyota

GR Supra

167

Kia

Stinger

166

GMC

Sierra 3500HD

161

Lexus

LX 570

135

GMC

Sierra 2500HD

132

Ford

F-350 Super Duty

122

Chevrolet

Corvette

99

Genesis

G80

97

Nissan

Titan

97

Mercedes-Benz

A-Class

92

Kia

Sedona

91

Audi

Q8

85

Audi

e-tron

81

Cadillac

Escalade

81

Toyota

Land Cruiser

78

Lexus

IS 350

77

Toyota

Sequoia

74

Buick

Encore

72

Ram  

1500 pickup

72

Mini

Hardtop 2 Door

70

Lincoln

Navigator

70

Porsche

Cayenne

64

Land-Rover

Range Rover Sport

63

Volkswagen

Jetta GLI

63

 

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