Fun & Facts   Tech
By Consumer Team | 31 Aug. 2017

Is There Really a Best Time to Buy a Car?


Buying a new vehicle is a complicated process. No matter whether you’re looking for the safest car, the most fuel efficient or the fastest, there are always a huge number of factors to consider in order to find the right make and model for your specific needs. Once you finally have found the right car, you’ll obviously want to make sure you get it for the best possible price. Although it’s something that virtually everyone knows by now, it still begs repeating—only fools pay sticker price.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is exactly what it says it is—a suggested price—which means you don’t necessarily have to pay it. Dealers are generally always willing to negotiate the price down from the MSRP, and you can often save as much as 4 to 8 percent off the sticker price by haggling. That being said, there are certain times of the year when dealers tend to offer better deals or be more willing to negotiate. By waiting to buy until one of these key times, you could end up saving yourself thousands of dollars.

End of the Month

Dealerships and salespeople tend to have monthly quotas that they need to meet, and as a result, you can often get a much better deal towards the end of the month when the need to meet the quota suddenly becomes much more urgent. In some cases, salespeople are even willing to take a slight loss on a vehicle if it helps them meet their quota since meeting the quota often carries with it a big financial bonus. If the month has been busy for the dealer, you might find that they’re not very willing to negotiate. However, if the month has been slow then you could be in for a great deal. Generally speaking, vehicle sales tend to be lower during colder months, but shopping at the end of the month could potentially net you a great deal any time of the year.

Holiday Sales Events

The safest cars on the road or the fastest cars on the road will still be the safest or the fastest several months down the road, which is why it’s always worth waiting until you can find a good deal before making your purchase. In this sense, holidays tend to be one of the absolute best times to buy. Most major car manufacturers offer special sales events over Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and other holidays, and buying during one of these holiday sales events generally ensures you’ll get a good deal. Some dealerships also offer their own incentives during these sales events, which means you could end up saving a huge chunk of cash simply by waiting until the holidays to shop.

New Car Season

Dealerships generally always need to clear out space on their lot when the next year’s models start to roll out, and they will often be more willing to give you an even better deal on the last year’s model in order to get it off the lot. The safest cars and most technologically advanced cars tend to be the newest, which means you might end up missing out on newer features when you choose to buy the previous year’s model. However, if price is one of the most important factors, shopping around the time that the new models start to come out can often allow you to save even more than shopping at the end of the month or during a holiday sales event.

Although dealerships are usually willing to offer you a lower price than the sticker price, you’ll never get anywhere if you’re not willing to haggle. Even if a dealer is struggling to meet their monthly quota, they are still highly unlikely to offer you a good deal if they think that you’re a pushover and that there’s a chance they might get you to pay almost the sticker price. In this sense, it doesn’t really matter what time of the year you shop if you can’t find it in yourself to negotiate a better price. Still, if you are willing to negotiate you can almost always get a better deal by knowing when to shop.