When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?
Should you buy during a specific month, day, or even time of day? There are a couple key considerations to consider when determining when to buy your car. Look at the infographic below to see how timing can affect car prices. And if you really want to know how and when you can get the best deal, read my Ultimate New Car Buying Guide.
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What is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Car
You can find the best prices on seasonal vehicles off-season. Convertibles and sports cars can be cheaper in the fall and early winter because of less demand. The weather also plays an impact. SUV’s might be discounted in the summer when gas prices are up and people aren’t as concerned about finding four wheel drive cars to navigate wintery roads.
If you’re looking for a home on the road, the best time to buy an RV in colder climates is when the snowbirds have headed south for the Winter. Demand drops off and sellers know they are going to have to go through the hassle of winterizing and storing the RV for the off season. Conversely, in parts of the South, the best time to buy an RV is in late Spring after buyers migrate back north and there is less local demand.
The fall months are also good for sales at the end of a model year. Different manufacturers end model years at different times, but many change years in September or October. Dealers want to get rid of old models to make room for new ones. And you can get especially good deals if the body style is changing. Just be careful to weigh the discount on an end of model-year car. As soon as you enter a new year, that car’s resale value will take a hit because it’s labeled as a whole year older.
When is the Best Month to Buy a Car?
The best month to buy a car is December because dealerships are desperate to lure shoppers on the lot while most people are preparing for the holidays and spending all their extra cash on gifts. It’s also the best time of year to buy a car because dealerships are trying to hit their annual sales quotas and related bonuses. Dealerships have both month-end and year-end targets, so December means big discounts. And if you don’t want to stay home on the holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are typically two of the best days of the year to find deals.
What is the Best Day to Buy a Car?
Even if you forget everything else, remember this statement: The best time to buy a car is the last couple days of the month. Manufacturers set monthly targets for car dealerships. If car salesmen and dealerships meet their monthly sales goals they can earn bonuses. So if you time your car purchase towards the end of the month you could end up buying from a car salesman who is close to hitting his quota and earning a bonus payment. This bonus may be much bigger than the loss he takes on a single sale and as a result he may be willing to provide a bigger discount to you in order to earn that bonus.
And interestingly enough, the second best time to buy a car is the first couple days of the month. Because the end of the month trick is widely known, salesmen are usually pretty busy with buyers that have waited. As a result, the first couple days of the month mean fewer buyers and idle salesmen may be willing to deal. Salesmen may also want to get a jump on their monthly sales quotas so they’re not under as much pressure at the end of the month.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?
Don’t go out of your way for this one, but some dealerships offer salesmen a small bonus ($100 or so) for selling the first car of the day on a Saturday or holiday to encourage sales. So if you are one of the first buyers of the day you may notice a small benefit.
What’s the Best Way to Buy a Car?
That’s easy, don’t go to the dealership at all! Get car prices from multiple local dealers and ask them to compete with each other over email. I explain the step-by-step process of how to buy a car in my Ultimate New Car Buying Guide.
What if You Need a Car Now?
As much as you might like to time your car purchase to get the best deal, it’s not always possible. Sometimes an accident or unexpected repair may make waiting difficult. In these cases, you can still get car prices online and make car dealers compete. And check out Edmunds car incentives and rebates to see which manufacturers are currently running promotions.
European Delivery Programs
Here’s a final added tidbit. If you are considering buying a high-end luxury car, why not take a trip to Europe? While timing a luxury car purchase may not net you savings on the car itself, you can save on your vacation spending. Manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volvo all offer vacation packages that allow you to pick up your car in Europe and tour the country side. As for the best time of year, Spring is a great time to visit Europe while the weather is comfortable but the high-priced summer tourist season as not begun yet.