If you’ve got your eyes on a new car this year, it’s important to know that not all car purchases are the same.
You can often get better prices based on when you shop. Here’s what you need to know.
Car dealers keep their books for a calendar year, which means at midnight December 31st, they need to close the book on last year’s sales. The closer you get to that deadline, the more willing they are to negotiate.
Kelly Blue Book, the company that tells you how much cars resell for, relates the story of a woman who got three dealers to compete with each other in the last days of the year to give her the best deal. The dealer that won her business only finally caved at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve so he could close the deal and get to his NYE party.
End-of-the-Model Year Deals
Car makers update their product line once a year, just like Apple Inc. updates iPhones. New models hit the showroom floor from late September through October. And just like updating your old phone, if you buy an older model during an update cycle, you can get something new for less. (It may also cost less than a new phone.)
Capitalize on Holidays
As you may know from year-round car commercials, dealerships offer great discounts on certain holidays. Some deals, like Lexus’ “December to Remember,” have become iconic, but you can save big on holidays throughout the year. President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are just a few examples of when you might find a blowout sale.
Check with your local dealerships to see when they have holiday discounts and start planning your purchase.
Buy Early In The Week
If you can find the time to get to the dealership on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, you could be looking at a better deal than if you show up on a weekend. It’s less likely that the dealership will be crowded on an early weekday, so you not only get more attention from your salesperson but they also may be more flexible to make a sale.
For a better shot at savings, show up late in the day too. If your sales rep is looking to close up shop after finalizing a deal with you, they might be willing to shave off a few bucks to get it done quicker.
Always remember that as the buyer, you’re in control. A salesperson would rather make a sale for less than have you walk out the door, especially if the store is slow that day.
Take Advantage of Dealership Quotas
Most car dealerships have set numbers of sales they want to make every month, quarter, and year. With this in mind, you can gain a serious upper hand in negotiations. Often times salespeople will make sales with a lower commission with the goal of hitting a quota and earning a bonus.
Not every dealership or sales rep will have quotas like this, but it’s pretty common. To capitalize on end-of-quarter deals, shop in late March, June, September, or December. If you can hold out until the end of the year, landing a deal close to New Year’s Eve can give you great savings thanks to holiday discounts and dealerships looking to hit year-end quotas.