When it’s cold outside, the deals inside car dealerships are hot. In fact, wintry December is one of the best months to buy a car.
So, why is December one of the best months to buy a car? Here, we’ll explain the reasons, and we’ll offer tips on how to make the most of those December deals.
One of the main reasons that December is a great month for buying a car is that end-of-the-year car sales are common. What’s driving that? Dealerships are motivated to get rid of inventory from the previous model year so they can make room for inventory from the current model year. For tax purposes, they also don’t want to carry over taxable inventory from one calendar year to the next.
Also, car dealers realize that many people give cars as holiday gifts, so they’ll drop prices as an incentive to get you to put a bow on a new or new-to-you vehicle.
Data from auto marketplace TrueCar shows December is an especially good month to save money on SUVs and subcompact cars.
Alright, now you know why car dealerships cut deals in December. But how can you truly cash in on those deals? Here are six tips.
- Do your homework.
Before heading to a dealership, do some research online. What kind of car do you want? What features do you want the car to have? What’s the typical price for that car?
Arming yourself with information ahead of your trip to the dealership can save time and money. Here are a few of the best used car websites that are ideal for drivers on a budget.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
You might be one of those people who dread the thought of buying a car. But you can relax. Many dealerships have stopped their high-pressure sales tactics and have quit paying their salespeople on a commission basis. In this kinder environment, you can feel more comfortable negotiating a deal.
By the way, you should be prepared to walk out of one dealership and head to another if you’re not satisfied with the offer you’ve been given. Even threatening to do this might get a dealership to budge on the price.
3. Shop on a weekday.
TrueCar data shows Monday is the best day to shop for a car, with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday not far behind Monday. Savings on cars are slightly lower on Saturday and Sunday when dealerships are busier and are less inclined to cut prices.
- Shop toward the end of December.
At the end of the month or end of the quarter, car salespeople are eager to boost their sales. Why? Because often, their bosses measure their performance based on monthly and quarterly sales numbers. Therefore, a car salesperson might be willing to lower the price of a car to improve his or her sales figures.
- Go to the dealership in the late afternoon or evening.
If it’s getting near closing time at the dealership and it’s been a particularly slow day for sales, the dealership might be willing to cut a deal to bump up the sales numbers for the day.
- Look at older models.
You might have your heart set on the brand-new model that you saw advertised on TV, and we can’t blame you for that. But you’re much more likely to score a bargain on a used car that’s a few model years older. That’s because dealerships want to clear out the older models to make way for the newer—and more expensive—models. And to do that, dealerships often will engage in some wheeling and dealing.
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