We always hear about the best times to purchase airline tickets, appliances, electronics, —the list goes on and on. Since we don’t typically upgrade our cars as routinely as our phones, it can be eminently forgettable that the “best time to buy” concept extends to cars.
As with most things, car prices can fluctuate frequently due to supply and demand. However, there are a few special times throughout the year during which you can snag a bargain on a set of new wheels.
Car dealerships have sales quotas, typically broken down into monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales goals. If a shortfall in sales is anticipated, prices may be reduced near the end-of-month, quarter, or year to help meet the dealership’s sales goal.
Tip: December 31st has often been regarded as the best day to buy a car because dealers are more motivated to negotiate as they hustle to meet year-end quotas and create space for new inventory. Inventory may be spread thin by this time, so this method may not be ideal if you’re after a specific model or feature.
2. Holiday weekends.
You may have already noticed that dealerships kick off their big sales events or offer special incentives during extended holiday weekends such as Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.
Tip: If you have a specific car in mind, test drive it before a holiday weekend arrives. Since people have time off and there’s potential for big savings, dealerships may be busier than usual during holiday weekends.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If you’re planning to buy a new car from a dealership, it may be to your advantage to buy during holidays or at the end of each calendar quarter. Regardless of the time of year, when you shop for a car, be sure to stick to a hardline maximum price point, and don’t allow sales pressure to push you over that maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Remember: the ball is in your court when it comes to car buying, not the car dealers. They just need to meet a sales quota.