When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

When it comes to getting a good deal on a car, there are several factors at play, from how much research a buyer does beforehand to his negotiating prowess. Another factor that can affect that final purchase price is when you buy the car.

Certain times may net you a better deal, while others may make getting a better price less likely. While some people may not be able to take advantage of all the factors due to an immediate need for a vehicle, even someone in a bit of a rush can still benefit. While there are no guarantees, considering these timelines tilt the odds in your favor.

Snag a Great Price on Outgoing Models

For the most part, dealers are putting out next year’s models in the late summer or early fall; because they want to free up space for new inventory, they are often a bit more flexible on price for the current models on their way out. On top of the dealer, the actual manufacturers often throw in some incentives to sweeten the pot. The only drawback is your selection may be a bit more limited.

Year End

The end of the calendar year is one of the best times to get a better deal for a few reasons. First, the bleak winter months are usually slower for dealers, and they are hungry for sales. Salesmen are trying to meet or exceed quotas, in hopes of a fatter holiday bonus. The more cars that are sitting in the lot at year’s end, the more money the dealership is forking over in fees and taxes.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is inventory may not be as robust, so if you really have your heart set on a certain car, waiting on buying it could backfire. It might be a better idea to head over to the dealer.

End of the Month or Quarter

Car salesmen are working on commission, and when you work on commission, you want as many sales as possible. Additionally, certain sales goals must be met to qualify for bonuses. So, catching the staff when they are really itching to make a sale can really work to your advantage, which is why year end is one of the best times. But, there are other times they are really feeling the heat as well, such as the end of the month and the end of the sales quarter. Now, if the person has already made this quota, you have no way of knowing that, but it is certainly worth a shot. Your interaction with him can give you a sense of whether or not he is hungry for a deal.

Late in the Day

Going to the dealership late in the day can also work to the buyer’s advantage, provided certain elements are in place. First, you have to be willing to hang in there through the negotiation just as much as the dealer is. Second, you should really be serious about buying a car at this moment, and are willing to make a reasonable offer.

The staff may be ready to go home, but they are not going to walk away from someone who is ready to drive a car off the lot right now, just because closing time is near. But, they probably don’t want to spend hours there after already putting in a full day, so negotiations might move along more quickly.