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Published on September 18th, 2018 | by Jones


When is the best time to buy a car?

Just like in life, timing is everything when buying a car. And buying a car at just the right time could save you a significant amount on your next vehicle purchase. Many people believe that negotiating is the only way to get a good deal, another effective method is to wait for just the right time to make your purchase.

If you are searching for used cars for sale, read on below for some top tips on when the best time is to buy a car.

During a model change-over

The big US carmakers (Ford, GM, Chrysler) launch their new cars in August and September, while others sprinkle theirs across the calendar. Most buyers are interested in these new models, which places pressure on dealers to offer discounts and incentives to clear the previous year’s inventory.

This means that you will not have to spend hours negotiating prices and strong-arming dealers to get a good price. You will likely find more bargains if you look at sedans and hatchbacks, as bakkies and SUVs will command higher prices, as will luxury vehicles. If you are looking to buy one of these newer models, then you will need to be prepared to pay sticker price and sometimes a little more.

End-of-the-month pressure

Of all the times of year that dealers feel pressure to sell most, it is at the end of a month. The last five days might leave them a few cars short of their monthly quota, which means that they have more motivation to sell and will offer more discounts on certain models.

Used cars for sale at the end of the month are usually significantly discounted, but you are not able to know this ahead of time. While these deals are more common in high-volume domestic dealers, it is best to go car shopping at the end of the month. You might find that you are the lucky customer who helps the dealer meet their sales quota by buying your dream car. Be sure to still test drive your car, even if the sales window is short.

End-of-the-year sales

The end of the year is when many dealers place massive discounts on their stock. This is because they need to make room for more inventory and updated models. December is often when people want to purchase affordable vehicles, and dealerships have to deliver.

December also offers the largest inventory of cars to choose from, with more models from the outgoing year on the dealership floor. This means that you will be able to easily find the exact car you are looking for at a much lower price. However, choose your dealership carefully as some might have lower inventory, which could mean lower discounts, too. This is because they have reached their sales quota and might not need the sale as much.

Last year’s model

If you are looking for a real bargain, this tip is for you. When a car is being discontinued or “rebranded”, this is the time to strike. The outgoing model’s prices will drop dramatically, meaning that dealerships will offer affordable deals and promotions.

If the previous year’s model is not off of the floor by the time the new model arrives, you will find the older model heavily discounted and incentivised. You might find that the technology of the previous model is not as up-to-date as the newer one, but it is a small price to pay for an affordable car that you have been waiting for. Keep an eye out for release dates for new car models so you can shop intelligently when the time comes.

The best day to buy a car

If you do not have the time to wait until the end of the year or end of the month, you can go into a dealership on a specific week day for a discounted option. Going early in the week means that you will have the full attention and can get a killer deal.

Weekends are usually highly busy at a dealership, which means that you will not have the salesperson’s full attention and the finance office might be a bottleneck. However, if you go to the dealership on a Monday or a Tuesday, there will be less foot traffic and the transaction will take less time. If the dealership is closed on a Sunday, then rather go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as Monday will be very busy.

Keep your calendar open

Buying a car can be both exciting and difficult. You will need to keep a keen eye on your calendar in order to find the best deals, such as going in at the end of the month or the end of the calendar year. You can wait for a model change-over or you could buy the previous year’s stock as their prices will be lower in order to move inventory. If you simply can’t wait until the end of the year, try going early in the week to find the car of your dreams… at the price of your dreams.


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