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Home > Other Services > Member Benefits > The Best & Worst of Times To Buy a Car
The Best & Worst of Times To Buy a Car8/25/2015

You're either ready to buy or have the tiniest seed of want in your mind for a new car. Whatever stage of the car buying process you may be in, knowing when and when not to buy may save you quite a bit of money. And let's face it, buying a new car isn't as easy as buying a new pair of shoes, it does not lead itself to impulse buying because the ticket price is much greater than buying a pair of $75 jeans or a $100 coat. When buying a new car you have to examine your budget, compromise between the car you want and the car that is better for you budget-wise, and get preapproved for an auto loan. After all that is said and done, it's still a tricky process trying to find the best deal on the car you want. So the question is, when is the best and worst time to shop?

1 - the best and worst times to buy a car

The Best:
The ideal months to buy a new car are August, September, November, and December. Why?

During the months of August and September newer models are making their way to lots and showrooms. Meaning, the models for the current year are taking up space needed to showcase next year's "latest and greatest". One thing to remember is that from one model year to the next, differences in body style and features are usually not that significant so even though the car you are getting may be one model year older, it's still a new car.

During the November and December months, salespeople are more anxious to make a large number of sales. Also, their managers are more likely to allow them to make better offers. This is due to dealerships needing to meet their year-end quotas, which translates to a larger number of incentives and/or bigger bonuses for sales staff.

If you can't wait for the perfect month to buy a car, try shopping earlier in the week for one. Shopping on Mondays or Tuesdays as opposed to the weekend, when car lots are busier is a better option because you will most likely get more personal attention from the sales staff. Also, try to shop at the end of the month or quarter. If you've ever worked in sales (or even if you haven't), you know that a salesperson is judged on his/her sales performance; the more sales the better. So, if you happen to meet with a salesperson who is need of more sales, you're likely to have better luck in negotiating a deal that is more beneficial to you and your budget. Making your offer later in the day may also garner you the deal you are looking for, especially if the salesperson you are working with has had a slow or fruitless day.

It is also important to note that not all dealerships are equal. Dealerships with lower pricing than others may not waver from their asking price too much, no matter the month, day, or time of year, because they are already offering their vehicles close to the lowest offer they can go to give you a good deal, as well as, making a small profit for themselves. Bargain shopping for a new car or anything else isn't much of a bargain if you buy your car from one place solely because you were able to negotiate a lower price when the ticket price at another was lower but didn't allow for haggling. In other words, shop around, look online at pricing with different dealerships and visit different lots to see what they have to offer.

2 - the best and worst times to buy a car

The Worst:
The worst months to buy a new car are February, March, May, and June. Why?

In the early spring months, specifically February and March, tax season is underway. So, if you don't have to pay taxes, you're receiving a nice little bonus in the form of a tax refund. While this may be the ideal time for you to shop, it's a seller's market. There is more consumer traffic on sales lots and because there are so many people willing to part with their checks to use as a down payment, there aren't as many discounts to draw shoppers in. It is more beneficial for you, if you can wait, to put your check in your Savings Account to earn interest while you're waiting for the tides to change into a buyer's market.

When summer draws in, during the months of May and June, dealerships rarely suffer from low sales. This is in part due to happy parents anxious to buy their senior (high school or college) a fancy graduation present. Also, it's a good time for vacations and summer road trips so consumers are more likely to buy a car or trade theirs in for a new model with fewer miles.

3 - the best and worst times to buy a car

The Recap:

  • August, September, November, and December are the best months to purchase a car.
    • Next year's models are making their way to the showroom in August and September, so the current year's models need to be sold to make room for them.
    • Salespeople are more anxious to make a larger number of sales during November and December because they need to meet year-end quotas.
  • Shop in the beginning of the week (Mondays and Tuesdays) as opposed to the weekend because there is less consumer traffic on dealership lots.
  • Shop at the end of the month or quarter.
  • Make an offer later in the day.
  • February, March, April, and May are the worst months to buy a new car.
    • During February and March, many people are receiving their tax refund checks making these months a seller's market as opposed to a buyer's market.
    • May and June are a busy time for car lots because it's graduation and vacation season.


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