New Car Shopping | Best Time To Score A Deal

best time to buy a car

When is the best time to score a deal on car shopping? Thinking your old clunker may not make it through the winter?  Have you found yourself at a stoplight on a freezing December morning overcome by the fear that your car may just stall out, when you press the gas pedal?  Figure ole Bessie hasn’t got much left in her, and time is near to find her replacement?  Well, you’re in luck, we are coming up on the best time of the year to buy a new car, if you must.  I say-if you must– because buying used is always a better option, cause the value of a new car drops the moment that car dealership appears in your rearview mirror, but I digress.

Sure enough, that last couple weeks of December is the very best time of the year to purchase that shiny ride you have been dreaming about.  So if you can be patient, and do your research, your likely to score a great deal.

Why is December the best month?

This is when car dealers need to clean out old inventory to make room for new models and are very encouraged to meet end-of-year sales quotas.  Car salesman have opportunities to earn bonus’ at the end of the year, and this creates incentive for them to wanna move cars.  As a result, getting $2-$3000 off the sticker price is not out of the ordinary.  If that is not feasible and ole bessie just won’t make it until the end of December, then at least wait until the end of a month or quarter.  Even if this means renting a car until then, I assure you, your savings will be realized!

When is the worst time to buy a car?

Hands down, the worst time to car shop is in the spring, when trees are blooming, tax returns have been received and folks are in a buying mood.  This is a sellers market, the dealership has the upper hand.  Remember supply and demand.  That red sports car looks a lot more enticing when the sun is shining and you can imagine yourself cruising with the top down, or at least the salesman is good at painting a picture of you cruising with the top down.

You can also score a good deal when….

The weather is bad…..Why you ask?  The dealers are excited to see a possible sale walk through the door when it is pouring rain or snowing.  Granted you may be interrupting their water cooler chatter or their sports betting, but they are completely ok with that.  They rarely pass up an opportunity to make a commission.  Generally during bad weather, dealerships have less people shopping, so when you show up, you have their undivided attention.  If they aren’t willing to negotiate, tell them you’re going down the street to see if another dealer wants to play ball, you can bet they will do all they can to keep you from leaving.

Consider going near the close of business.  At the end of the day the salesman and dealership may be more willing to negotiate a favorable price in order to get one last (or maybe the first sale) of the day.  The pricing becomes a little more ‘flexible’ when folks are tired and wanna go home, take advantage of this!

Introduction of the new model year (other than December) is also a great time to negotiate a steal on a prior year model.  Dealerships will be doing all they can to move last years product, they need to make room for the latest and greatest, must have new models.  So, if you’re someone who doesn’t mind not having the most up to date model then you can score a whale of a deal if you shop during this “transition” period.  Check the internet, papers, or call the dealerships to find out when this transition period begins.  When it does, plan your strategy; show up late in the afternoon on a rainy day, at the end of the month, and heck, they are likely to give the car away!

Happy shopping!

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  1. I’ve heard this a few times now, that shopping for cars in December is the best time of year. Apparently some folks get insane deals in the last week of the year, as the dealerships are trying to get in as many sales as possible for the year.

    • Jim says:

      Yep Anne, that seems to be the case. I never realized the significance of December auto sales, until I researched the post, but it all makes perfect sense. Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. Dang if I had a little more cash on hand I would go ahead and buy a car in December. Mine is on it’s last leg and I’m pretty sure I’ll buy one within the next year.

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