When's The Best Time To Buy A Car
In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. All three goals begin to come together late in the year.
when's the best time to buy a car
The J.D. Power predicts average transaction prices to reach $45,971 in the third quarter of 2022, which will be a 10.3 percent increase from the same time last year. A higher demand and a lower supply are contributing to this price increase.
Is there a best time to buy a new car? Yes, there are times that you're much more likely to get a money-saving deal than others. Knowing when to buy can save you thousands on the price of a new vehicle and its financing.
The ways we can buy cars has changed a lot over the last few years. Beyond a test drive, there's really no reason to spend a lot of time at the dealership (unless you want to). Shoppers can browse vehicles using their smartphones on breaks from work or scour the websites of dealerships miles from where they live. In fact, much of the work involving a car purchase can be done online.
It might sound backward, but the best time to buy a car is before you need to. If you have to make a last-minute car purchase or lease, you may not have time to do the research necessary to make a smart auto loan, leasing or buying decision.
When you start the car-buying process early, you can confidently decide which vehicle you want, how much you should pay and how you're going to finance its purchase. You can go into the dealership more relaxed, knowing that you have time on your side. You can even test drive multiple cars ahead of time, so you can leap as soon as you see a good deal.
There's a legend that says that you shop for a new or used car on the busiest day of the week. The thinking is that salespeople will be so busy, they'll try to reach a quick deal so they can move on to the next customer. They won't want to spend any time negotiating, and they'll cave in at your first offer. That doesn't really work anymore, if it ever did. Salespeople will take the time to get customers to agree to a deal they can accept and may ask you to make an appointment for a return visit.
Weekends are usually the busiest times on dealer lots, while days early in the week are typically much quieter. Not only will you have more time to get your questions answered and take test drives, but you'll also have more time to negotiate the sale. Since the dealership's financing office is less likely to have a waiting line, you may even get out of the showroom quicker. And don't underestimate the fact the dealership will be less chaotic for you as a shopper too, which can help you stick to your research and budget.
Another benefit of buying on a Monday is that many lenders are only open on weekdays. You'll have more of an opportunity to talk with local lenders, such as credit unions and community banks, to ensure you're getting a good financing deal. When you buy on a weekend, you have to take the salesperson's word that they're offering you a good deal. Of course, having a pre-approved financing deal in place before you visit the dealer is the best way to get affordable financing.
You do want to watch out for Mondays just after huge sales events, or in areas where Sunday sales are prohibited. In those cases, much of the dealer's staff will be tied up on Mondays catching up on paperwork from the weekend and may not have as much time to answer your questions thoroughly.
The exceptions to the avoid weekends rule are three-day weekends. Dealers frequently have some of their best sales around holidays, though the dealership will likely be busy. The weekends where you'll most likely find heavily promoted deals include Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July and February's Presidents Day weekends.
In addition to certain times of the week or holidays, some months are better to buy or lease new vehicles or purchase used cars than other months. In general, May, October, November and December are the best months to visit the car dealership. Read on to learn why.
Dealers and their salespeople spend the month of December sprinting toward the finish line of their month-, quarter- and year-end sales goals. The month builds up to the best days of the year to buy a new car. The dealerships are typically supported by automakers offering attractive financing and cash back deals.
December is also the time that many companies are looking for year-end tax write-offs. Automakers know this, and many offer attractive lease deals to capture their business. Those same deals are usually available to individual car shoppers.
Like other holidays, do your research ahead of time and be prepared with a pre-approved loan. If you're considering leasing, be sure to understand the pros and cons of car leasing versus buying. Knowing how much you can afford with your monthly lease payments and the total cost of the lease is critical to getting the best deal.
New Year's Eve and the New Year's Day holiday are some of the best times to buy a new or used car. The days are typically packed with special end-of-year sales events and supported with great financing and lease deals from automakers.
Since it's the end of the month, end of the quarter and end of the year, there are plenty of sales goals that salespeople, dealers and automakers are trying to hit. Because of the way automakers report sales, you don't usually have to complete the deal by the last day of the year. Deals completed on New Year's Day (and sometimes even a day or so later) usually go toward the previous year's sales targets.
With dealerships super-busy over the holiday, it's a good idea to do your homework well in advance. Salespeople aren't going to have the time to answer your every question or guide you toward a car that fits your needs. That means knowing the vehicle you want, having a pre-approved car loan in hand and having a good idea of your trade-in's value.
Not every vehicle is a home-run in the marketplace. Sometimes a car, truck, SUV or minivan needs a bit of a boost to meet an automaker's sales or leasing goals. Those boosts come in the form of incentives such as cash back, financing deals or lease offers with low monthly payments and a smaller-than-usual sum due at signing.
You can find the best auto loan and rebate car-buying incentives on our new car deals page. Our lease deals page showcases the best offers in the leasing marketplace. You won't typically find cash back offers on used cars, but our used car deals page shows the best financing deals automakers are offering on certified used cars.
While a new car can arrive at any time in the model year, fall is still the traditional season for new vehicles to appear in dealer showrooms. Before that happens, the outgoing models tend to be discounted. The price breaks may be advertised, or they may only be known to dealers who can decide whether or not to pass the savings along.
Cars have design cycles and life cycles. A design cycle is the time between complete redesigns and is typically, but not always, about five years. For frugal buyers, a great time to buy or lease is toward the end of a vehicle's design cycle, when other shoppers are eyeing the new model. You'll see automakers start to promote car lease deals, financing offers and cash-back incentives before the new models arrive.
There's nothing wrong with buying a discontinued car, especially if you plan to keep it for a long time. Cars that have been axed from an automaker's lineup tend to depreciate more quickly than current models. That's bad for lease customers who should be shopping for vehicles with high residual values, but it doesn't really affect buyers who keep their rides for the long term.
Many of the same rules about timing your new car purchase apply to used car purchases. One exception is holiday weekend and other significant sales events. In those cases, there are a couple of reasons why it's best to wait until a few days pass before you buy.
When a car is brand-new or is the best-selling model in its class, it's time to wait a while until its prices settle down. The same goes when there are supply disruptions or vehicle shortages. There are plenty of buyers out there willing to spend more than sticker price for the latest and greatest, but it's worth waiting instead of spending the extra money.
There's an urban legend that you should show up just before a dealership closes, or even on Christmas Eve. The thinking goes that they'll make you a great deal so they can close up shop and head home. That's simply not the case. If a dealer really wants to sell you a car, they'll ask you to come back during business hours or put in the extra time to make the sale. Remember, a typical car buyer is only at the dealership once every several years. Car salespeople are there every day, and they know the game better than you do.
You don't ever want to buy a used car shortly after a major flood or other disaster has passed through your area. Opportunistic sellers may be trying to get rid of damaged vehicles before the information appears on vehicle history reports. It's a better idea to take the time to get a pre-purchase inspection by an independent mechanic to ensure there's no hidden damage.
As a result, car shoppers today face a limited selection and price hikes from either dealer-added (often non-negotiable) accessories or "market adjustments." Discounts of any sort are scarcer than the cars themselves, leaving the buyer with no negotiating power. There's also a greater sense of urgency to make a quick decision on a deal because the car may not be there if you take the time to think about it.
This means that these are far from normal times in terms of both the selection of cars available and the lack of discounts you may encounter. If you need a new vehicle today, we suggest starting your shopping process sooner rather than later since the chipset shortage will likely affect pricing and inventory at least through 2022. 041b061a72