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How Has COVID-19 Affected Car Ownership?

By Lou Whiteman - Feb 15, 2021 at 9:00AM

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The pandemic has changed a lot of consumer behaviors. Here's one expert's view on how auto buying is evolving.

The pandemic has swept across the economy, causing what might turn out to be permanent changes to consumer behavior. Kevin Bennett, CEO of consumer finance start-up MotoRefi, says it has impacted the way people shop for cars as well. 

In this video, recorded on Feb. 4, Bennett joins Brendan Mathews from Motley Fool Ventures to share his observations about how the auto-buying and ownership experience has changed in the past year, and whether he thinks the changes will last post-pandemic. 

Brendan Mathews: How has COVID affected car ownership?

Kevin Bennett: Across the economy, I think what we've seen and certain equity markets have pointed this out as we read the headlines, but digital adoption accelerated from COVID. As people literally locked in their homes, everything is being done by technology across [inaudible] . What that has really resulted in is one, great performance across technology, generally speaking, and as a sector. But also changes in behaviors have accelerated. We've talked about awareness of auto refinance has accelerated directly as a result of COVID, and low rates, mortgage refinance, etc. We're also seeing new models of whether it's Carvana (CVNA -4.45%) or Vroom (VRM 8.46%), used car sales have really gone way up, and used car valuations have gone up. I think we've seen a lot of trends that we expect to continue, especially when it comes to adoption. We've also seen personal finance and fintech. Even zooming in a bit further from tech generally, become very turbocharged as it were and accelerate in terms of growth, and that's true in the auto sector as well. I think this is something that is likely acceleration that will continue, adoption will continue. I think tech is effectively in a march forward as it helps make our lives more convenient in all aspects. That will probably just continue, and we've just seen a strong tailwind through COVID to accelerate that tech adoption curve.

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