It might seem like a trivial detail, but the time of year (and even the time of day) can make a big difference in the amount you pay for a new vehicle.
Car manufacturers release new models at specific times of the year, dealerships have ongoing incentive programs and sales teams have monthly quotas — pick your timing right, and you could end up saving a lot of money on a new car.
In this post we’ll go over the following:
Best time to buy a new car
If your main concern is price and you’re in the market for a new car, the best time of year to buy a new car is between September and December.
The best month to buy a new car is in November. This is when manufacturers tend to offer incentives for previous year’s models as they look to clear the way for new models that are being delivered and free up space in the parking lot.
Five great moments to buy a new car
At the end of the month
Remember those sales quotas we mentioned? In some cases, dealerships that run on a quota system also give their employees a cash bonus if they hit their monthly targets. This is why it’s a good idea to visit a dealership towards the end of the month when salespeople are motivated to move new cars off the lot in order to meet their goals.
At the end of a month, you might be able to work out a lower purchase price or better terms on your loan agreement — just make sure you brush up on your negotiating tactics before you hit the showroom.
This tactic can be used year-round, but the end of a financial quarter can be even more rewarding. Buying a new car at the end of March, June, September or December can mean even better deals because dealers are working towards larger sales goals.
Before the dealership closes for the day
Last minute car shopping might seem like a bad idea, but you can often find a better deal if you show up before closing time. Like all of us, salespeople look forward to heading home after a busy work day. This works to your advantage because dealers may be willing to drop the price of a vehicle in order to wrap up a sale before the end of the day.
However, this only works if you know the exact car you want. If you show up at closing time with the intention of browsing and asking a lot of questions, your bargaining chips fly right out the window.
During shopping holidays
Black Friday isn’t just an American holiday anymore, and the sales aren’t only at the mall. Many car dealerships have also gotten in on the annual shopping frenzy. Keep an eye out for discounts, free add-ons and financing incentives ahead of the November holiday.
Boxing Day — or rather, Boxing Week — can offer a perfect storm of deals and incentives for car buyers. Not only does the holiday fall during a slow time of year for most dealerships, it also takes place at the end of the month and at the end of a financial quarter. If you don’t need a new car right away, it might be a good idea to wait until the end of the year.
Before new models hit the floor
Car manufacturers usually roll out their new models during the fall, which leaves dealerships busy trying to sell off the previous year’s stock. Partially due to space constraints and partially due to a desire to start showing off the newest inventory, dealerships will offer car shoppers some top-notch incentives on older cars.
For example, if you have your eye on a 2018 Jeep Wrangler you might be able to score a discount if you wait until the new 2019 Wranglers hit the lot later this year.
When dealer incentives are being offered
Incentives are often passed down from the manufacturer to the dealership and it can be hard to predict when deals will come up. Cash-back rebates, money-off discounts, loyalty programs, trade-in deals and low-interest financing can all come into play when a certain model isn’t selling as expected or there are too many cars on the lot.
If you’re in the market for a new car, stay on top of the incentives being offered at your local dealerships by checking flyers and watching for online promotions.
The worst times to buy a new car
Timing is important when it comes to saving money on a new car. To make sure you’re getting the best deal avoid shopping when a vehicle is in high demand, at the beginning of a new model year or before the car has been reviewed by an independent agency. Following the last rule will make sure you don’t buy a brand new car with known issues.