Even in today’s modern world with its artificial heating, cooling, and lighting, the timeless seasonal cycles still impact human activities – giving rise to the question of what time of year is best for purchasing a new car.
Of course, the very best time to buy a car is when you need it. If your existing car is dangerous to drive or is no longer reliably serving your needs, then it makes sense to purchase a new vehicle immediately. Risking the loss of your job due to ineffective transport, or risking injury with an unsafe vehicle, is not worth whatever savings you would gain by waiting until the right time of year to buy.
However, if you are under no immediate pressure to purchase, you can often obtain some potentially juicy savings by choosing your car shopping moment carefully. Remember that you can learn the features of various car models and even test-drive the vehicles months before you buy them, saving valuable time when a short window of opportunity appears.
Clearance of the Outgoing Model Year
Each year, car companies introduce a new year of their car models, upgraded with the latest styling cues, technical flourishes, and perhaps a new color or two. However, even after these new cars hit the showroom floor, brand-new, never-driven vehicles of the current/previous model year remain in stock. If the dealership has a number of these cars remaining, they may cut prices and offer deals to clear out this inventory to make room for the cutting edge model.
The exact timing of new model year releases varies greatly between companies. While many roll out their freshest designs in the third or fourth quarter of the year, some buck the pattern by offering their latest vehicles in the first or second quarter. Nevertheless, enough follow the traditional pattern to make two periods the most fruitful for the dedicated discount seeker: late summer/early autumn, and late December.
Late summer and early autumn, typically ranging through August and September, is when new model years frequently appear. Dealerships often start drawing down inventory of their current offering to create space for selling the new vehicle. Additionally, demand may slacken somewhat as people save their money for the “latest and greatest” variant due in a few months. With sellers motivated and buyers less so, you may be able to corral good savings and favorable terms at this time.
How good the deals are in late December depends mostly on how successful the dealerships in your area were at moving the current year stock out of the showroom in August and September. If a lot of vehicles remain in their inventory, you can expect some very attractive deals between Christmas and New Year’s. However, if they’ve sold off most of their stock, you may find few to no extra savings available.
Short Term Deals
Besides the annual cycle, you can trying watching shorter discount cycles for bargains, too. Monthly sales quotas prompt dealerships to offer excellent deals sometimes towards the end of the month in order to reach the required minimum, assuming that their sales fell short during the month. However, in the event of robust sales earlier in the month, the dealership lacks motivation to offer discounts and likely will not.
Some dealerships offer brief sales during holiday weekends such as 4th of July weekends, Labor Day, and so on. In recent years, some – but by no means all – have attempted to cash in on Black Friday’s commercial frenzy by offering Black Friday bargains of their own. The potential buyer should carefully examine the terms to make certain they are getting a genuine discount, rather than one eroded by hidden fees.
Discount Times that Don’t Really Work
While annual and even monthly deals really exist in many cases, some frequently cited ways of finding a deal based on the timing of a car purchase are mere myths or urban legends. “Rainy day discounts” simply do not exist in most cases. A slight, weather-related one-day drop in visitors won’t prompt a desperate selloff by the dealers.
Nor is buying at the very end of the business day a way to pressure sales personnel into making a quick deal. Since they rely mostly or entirely on commissions rather than hourly salary, they will close the dealership but stay as long as they feel as necessary to give you the full sales treatment. Arriving 15 minutes before closing time, in short, does not strengthen your “bargaining position” in the slightest.
Still, if you can take your time and make a leisurely purchase, and pay some attention to the product cycle and demand levels for the make of car you’re interested in, it is often possible to save a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on a brand-new automobile by understanding the potential of monthly and yearly deals.