When is the best time to buy a new car?
Is fall a good time to buy a new car? Absolutely, according to Consumer Reports, Bankrate, US News & World Report, Huffington Post, AutoTrader, and just about anyone you might ask. Here’s why it makes sense to buy a new car in October, November and December—and at other times, too.
Why fall is a great time to buy a new car
New cars are often (but not always) released in late summer/early fall. Car dealerships are eager to make room for the incoming models, because those cars are being heavily advertised and are therefore more likely to drive shoppers to dealerships.
Right now, 2018 models have arrived on lots. But chances are, some dealers still have 2017 models taking up space. This gives the dealer an incentive to reduce the sticker prices for 2017 cars to make room for more 2018 models.
The downside of buying an ‘old’ new car
Autotrader points out that if you buy last year’s model instead of the newest update, you could miss out on the latest technology amenities or, more importantly, new safety features. For example, all but one 2018 Mazda model features forward-collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) at low speeds as standard safety equipment, Consumer Reports says. That wasn’t the case for 2017 Mazda models.
Year-end is another good time to buy a new car
As this year draws to a close, you might find even deeper discounts on 2017 models. Dealers and automakers want to close the year with strong sales numbers on their books. And they want to bring in as much money as possible this time of year, because the winter months are often their slowest sales season.
Go new car shopping at the end of the month, too
Automakers often offer dealers bonuses if they hit specific sales quotas or numbers each month. So, the last few days of any given month can be an optimum time to negotiate the best deal for a new car. “You’re hoping you are the lucky person who walks in at the end of the month and the dealer is missing the one sale he needs,” says Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, as quoted by NerdWallet.
Shop on the weekends if you must...but negotiate during the week
Workers with Monday-Friday jobs tend to visit dealerships on weekends. But the more foot traffic there is on Saturdays and Sundays, the likelier the dealer is to keep prices high. Plus, sales people tend to be busier on weekends and may not be as available to you as you’d like.
If you visit a dealership over the weekend, just look around. Wait until midweek to negotiate and buy—unless there’s an attractive weekend promotion going on, as explained below.
Search for rebates and promotional offers
Car manufacturers sometimes offer rebates, special low-interest financing, and other hooks to increase sales. You might see those specials advertised right before (and during) a long holiday weekend—which could make it worthwhile to buy a new car on the weekend.
Search for special offers online, too. Edmunds makes it easy to search for offers by zip code and car make/model. Some car manufacturers’ websites, including Toyota and Buick, help you find deals.If you know the car you want, search the make and model on Google along with a search phrase such as promotions or offers. For example, if your heart is set on a Mini Cooper, Google the phrase Mini Cooper promotions.
Recommended resources for negotiating the lowest new car price
Timing is important in getting the best possible price on a new car. But it’s even more important to know how to negotiate the price. The following articles and tools will help you talk your way to the best new car deal.
* TrueCar’s ‘Ultimate Price Transparency’ search engine helps you determine what other people actually paid for a new or used car—which can help you determine a realistic price to offer.
* Consumer Reports’ “How to Negotiate a New Car Price Effectively” (June 2017).
* “Negotiating Car Prices” from Edmunds (April 2017).
* “12 Tips for Negotiating at a Car Dealership” (January 2017) from US News & World Report.
* “How Do I Negotiate the Price for a New Car?” from Money magazine (undated).