Why the New Year is the best time to buy a new car

Image: Dealtronic Software

Image: Dealtronic Software

Cars are probably one of the most expensive items you’ll buy in your life, but did you know that getting a good deal on one depends on what time of year you buy it?

Car Survey from TrueCar.com

There are seasonal factors that affect the car trade, and knowing that typically December and January are quiet months for them, as people are more focused on Christmas and the New Year, can prompt dealers and private sellers to offer great discounts. In fact one survey from TrueCar.com found that New Year’s Eve is the best day of all for deals.

Larry Dominique from TrueCar, said that they analyzed millions of 2013 car purchases in order to see when consumers got the best deals:

“What we see on Dec. 31 is the biggest percentage discount of the year off of manufacturer’s suggested retail prices.”

The survey showed that shoppers who bought vehicles on Dec. 31, 2013, paid 8.66% on average below MSRP. That just happens to be the highest discount of the year.

So what’s the reason for the New Year’s Eve discounts?

One theory is that as the year end is approaching, this is the last chance for salespeople to make those final deals and meet sales targets in order to trigger their bonuses for the New Year. It’s also the last chance for dealerships to meet year-end sales quotas that could reduce fees and taxes on their year-end inventory.

Moreover, with new stock arriving in the next few weeks, managers will be keen to open up space on forecourts and garages.

Dominique, who used to work at Nissan, says it’s only natural that you want to finish the year with as many sales as possible, but this means great deals for customers:

“Dec. 31 really is that last chance for both the manufacturer and the dealer to make that last sale of the year and maximize their numbers. If they need a few more sales to make a certain number, I guarantee you that they’ll practically give cars away.”

The other main reason for a healthy end to the year is that typically January is one of the slowest months for dealers.

The New Year is especially good for buying luxury brands, as Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book reminds us:

“In the wake of Lexus’ highly successful ‘December to Remember’ campaign that first launched years ago, many automakers have been offering holiday sales events — making now an opportune time for shoppers to get a deal on a car they may have been eyeing all year.”

And experts at Edmunds.com agree, with Aaron Lewis, senior communications manager stating:

“If you can get a 2014 model, you’ll save about 10 percent off the MSRP as compared to six percent off MSRP for 2015 models.”

Lewis added that new cars sales during the last week of the year is expected to be the busiest of the year, at around 78 percent higher than the average week in December.

However, although the statistics do show that there are some great discounts to be found, remember that you will have less choice as stocks start to wane. So if you have your heart set on a particular model it is best to save up and bag it while you can, rather than miss out.

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