Department | New Car Loans

Best Time to Buy a New Car

Does it matter when you buy a car?

It certainly does! The auto sales industry is just like any other industry with inventory - there are seasons of high sales and periods of low sales. The response of the industry during the period of low sales is to lower prices and get a little more desperate to land that extra sale. In the grocery stores and department stores, these periods are marked by frenzied sales to encourage shoppers to buy “low-season” items, and in auto sales, these times are marked by a greater willingness for salespersons to negotiate a more favorable price.

When is the Best Time to Shop?

No matter WHEN you go to shop, make sure you have done your homework to find exactly the car you want, including options and features you can’t live without. Know for sure what things are negotiable and what things are not.

Auto dealerships have inventories that they need to move, and they are cyclical as to when they need to move them. The smallest cycle they are concerned with is the monthly one. Buying a car towards the end of the month is a good way to find a better deal. The next cycle they are concerned with is the quarterly one, for tax reasons and sales goals. Buying a car at the end of a month that ends a quarter (March, June, September & December) is a really good way to get a better deal. Finally, the cycle that really moves dealerships is the end of the year. The old models have to go, and if you can live with buying a 2008 model vehicle in December of 2008, you have the best chance of walking away with a steal sometime after Christmas.

Keep in mind that there are bare-minimums that any dealership will go for no matter what time of the month or quarter or year it is. You should research and know in advance what a dealer’s minimum price is for a vehicle, and don’t expect it to drop below that. While it is possible that dealers will sell vehicles at a loss to meet their goals or quotas, it is not something you should go looking for unless you have a lot of time on your hands and legendary negotiating abilities.

So if you’re considering buying a new car, think: “I’ll wait until around the 28th of this month.” If it happens to be January maybe you should think: “I’ll wait until March 28th.” Or best of all, if it is around October and you’re thinking about getting a new vehicle, you can really do yourself a favor by thinking: “Late Christmas Present!”