Ask any car salesperson and they’ll tell you the best time to buy a new car is right now — for them anyway. Hey, when you make your living selling a product, the right time to buy is always right now. However, a bit more discretion is advised when it’s your money and you’re trying to make it work as hard as possible for you.
With that said, there is absolutely a best time of the year to buy a new car.
Well, it’s actually the best times of the year — read on.
While most retailers are referring to after-holiday sales with that term, car dealers mean the end of the model year. There was a time when dealership windows would be papered over toward the end of summer to build anticipation for the all-new model year lineups.
In those days, styling changed annually, so people would get excited to see what the new cars were going to look like each year. Today’s cars typically look the same for approximately five years; however they often get new engines and new features each year, potentially rendering vehicles from the previous model year less desirable.
This means they must be priced lower to move out and that’s when you can take advantage of year-end closeouts. This tends to happen at the end of the summer going into fall.
Design Cycle Closeouts
As we mentioned above, today’s cars undergo styling changes roughly every five years. This means you can usually get a better deal on the previous design because it’s at the end of its cycle. Most people are going to want the new look so their car will be fashionable longer. You can get a better deal if you’re someone to whom that doesn’t matter.
By the way, there are cases when the exterior styling will change, but the engine and much of the technology contained within the car will carry over from the final year of the previous cycle. Manufacturers often do this to reduce costs when those engines and features have just been introduced.
Conducting research to determine the exact differences between the newly styled model and its immediate predecessor could position you to get a great deal — again, if content matters more than appearance for you.
Life Cycle Closeouts
Models get discontinued every year, for a wide variety of reasons. When you learn production of a car will soon cease, or has already ceased, you’re perfectly placed to negotiate a better deal.
Sellers know they have to get rid of them before they become albatrosses perched immovably upon their lots. As a result, they are often willing to let them go at a reduced price. And yes, for those of you wondering how leasing a car works in these scenarios, end-of-cycle cars can be leased too.
Major Holiday Sales
Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year’s Day all typically arrive with rebates, lease deals and special incentives from manufacturers to help dealers put the metal in motion. Planning to buy around those times of the year can net you considerable savings.
So, yes, there is a best time of the year to buy a new car, there are also best times of the year to buy a new car. It’s important to note, selection may be limited during most of those periods, so it’s good to approach these periods with a degree of flexibility.
It’s also important to note conducting your research is just as important as it is at any other time. The only way to know a good deal when you see one is to know what a good deal is in the first place. Plan ahead, get everything in order (including your financing) before you show up at a dealership and you’ll have the best shot at getting a good bargain.