Best Time To Buy

People always ask questions about the right time to get the best deal like:

  • “Will I get the best deal at the end of the month?”
  • “What about December 29-31, isn’t that the best time??

Generally the end of the model year (usually August for domestics, September for imports) is when the dealerships are really trying to clear out inventory. For example, no dealer wants 2010 cars still on his lot when the 2011 models are arriving. Manufacturers will usually be giving the dealers better incentives at this time of the year than any other, allowing the dealers to sell you the car for less and still make money.

The end of the calendar year can make for good deals as well because the factory and the dealers are trying to squeeze out those last few sales before they close the books on that fiscal year. However as this isn’t usually a changeover point from one model year to the next it’s not really an ‘inventory clearing’ time the way the end of summer is.

In pure ‘cost to buy the car’ numbers however usually you’ll see better deals at the end of the summer than at the end of December. Remember though that if resale value matters to you, that new car you buy in August right as the next year’s models are rolling in will take an almost immediate depreciation hit as it’s a model year old as soon as the new cars arrive.

Buying at the end of the month can (but doesn’t always) make it easier to get a good deal. Dealerships get bonuses for hitting sales targets, monthly quarterly etc. If they’re close to making a goal for the month they’ll be more willing to deal.