End of the Year Car Buying Tips

Are you thinking of buying a new car? Can we convince you not to? No? Ok, well in that case Consumer Reports has some end of the year car buying tips for you.

• Car dealerships have monthly quotas. They’ll be trying to fill them at the end of the month.

• “Dealerships are eager to boost their numbers for the calendar year. Annual sales can affect the level of discounts and incentives they receive from manufacturers for the following year, and good numbers can also help them get better allocation of in-demand models.”

• “There are more incentives available at the end of the year than any other time because carmakers are eager to move old inventory before year’s end. You’ll often find the best manufacturer discounts and rebates right now.”

That being said, CR reminds you not to buy a crappy car just because it’s cheap. Do your homework first. —MEGHANN MARCO

Best and worst year-end car deals [Consumer Reports]

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  1. Kishi says:

    From what I’ve heard, the best time to go buy a car is the last Sunday of January. Consumers aren’t out shopping as much in January, having blown so much money in December, plus it’s frequently Super Bowl Sunday, so double-dead.

  2. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    It really depends on the car. I’ve heard that those end of year clearance sales are just marketing hype. It just creates an illusion of special pricing. I’d say that Lexus makes the biggest hoopla about this sort of thing with their “December To Remember” event.

    Tips to getting a good deal on a car:

    * Find a high volume dealer. They’re more concerned about pushing units, rather than boosting profit margins. These are usually small/medium, new-ish, up and coming dealerships that are trying to get on the manufacturer’s A-list. Check miscellaneous forums to see which dealers are giving the best deals.

    * Buy at the end of the month and at around closing time. I bought my car when the dealer was about to close in 20 minutes. The floor manager and the finance guy and everyone else were tired and wanted to go home. I haggled back and forth for about an hour until they gave in to my offer. Of course, the paperwork took another hour or so.

    * Forget the trade-in. Sell your old car on your own. If you throw in a trade-in vehicle into the situation, the dealer will be less than willing to budge on some things. Or they’ll just low ball you on the trade, in exchange for a better price on the new car.

    * Be flexible. If you’re looking for a certain type of car and you aren’t too interested in a certain brand/model of a car, then look for slow sellers or unpopular cars. Example: A few years back, the 2002 Honda Civic Si hatchback was a dog in terms of sales numbers. There was nothing wrong with the car. It was fun to drive, great on gas, and reliable. It’s a Honda after all! But the styling didn’t appeal to a lot of people. And it was only offered in a 5-speed manual. Dealers were selling these at or below invoice to anyone that wanted one. They just wanted to get these cars off of their lots.