I can sum it up in 3 words; supply and demand.
The best time to buy a car is when there are plenty of cars and no buyers, such as the weekday, before holidays and during inclement weather. The worst time to buy would be when there are a lot of buyers but no supply, such as the peak of summer, after major holidays and weekends.
The stark reality is that car dealers need to keep selling cars in order to free up the capital to buy more cars and sell them. The quicker they sell cars the quicker the money is freed up to buy more. It’s a viscous cycle. If sales begin to slow, the dealers start to get desperate and the bargaining goes in the direction of the consumer. A car that sits on the lot is dead capital until it sells, and if it sits for too long the dealer will negotiate on those cars with very little profit. Knowing how the system works will help you understand the right time to negotiate the best deal.
Here are the best times to buy a car.
Closing Time on Weekdays
Never buy a car on the weekend. Period. Showing up during prime time on the weekend when everyone else is buying will result in a nightmare and you will find an overloaded sales staff and very little willingness to negotiate. Your deal doesn’t matter because there are people lined up and buying. The trick is to get to the dealership a couple hours before closing time during the weekday. Sales staff, management, finance officers and detailers all want to go home. They will want to make a quick deal before closing time. There will be little resistance to your offer.
At the End of the Month
The end of the month is when the quotas for the sales staff and management team gets very serious and they need units sold so that they qualify for their month-end bonuses. Walk into a dealership on the last few days of the month and they will be eager to deal.
At the End of the Year
Starting in October and right up to the end of the year, dealers will start to see the next years models roll in. Those are the times where other buyers who want to buy the newest model will pass over a car that is brand new from the outgoing year. That means there are brand new cars from the outgoing year getting stale on the lot. Dealers will actually take a loss and you can bet that you will get a great deal on those cars. The end of the year is when the factory rebates and incentives become available and lower interest rates are offered.
The end of the year is also a good time to buy a used car when there is an uptick of cars being traded in replenishing depleted inventory. The pickings will be good and management will be eager to deal.
The Very Best Single Day of the Year to Buy a Car
Memorial Day is the biggest selling day of the year for dealers nationwide. But it is NOT the best day to buy a car. No. The very best day of the year to make a deal is to walk in on Friday morning, three days before the big event. Viola! Lots of supply and very little demand – till Monday that is- with all the benefits of the big day. The incentives are there, the rebates are at the highest, interest rates are low and the Dealers are beefing up their inventory for the big Monday event. It’s kind of like getting insider information on a upcoming stock deal.
You see, car dealers, more than any other industry, must make quotas. The sales people standing around need to earn the equivalent of a merit badge to keep the paychecks coming. The management team also needs to keep up their numbers as they are competing against fellow dealers for incentives. And the corporate office needs to keep up the buying volume from the factory to qualify for the best deals on their purchases. The numbers must be met on all levels otherwise paychecks suffer and heads roll. You see, you are the one that can make the difference for them. That is the ace that you have up your sleeve. They need you way more than you need them. Use it to your advantage.
For more information on the car buying process see my other articles on How to be Fearless When Buying a Used Car and The 5 Things You Should Know before Buying Your Next Car.
Greg Macke- Your Car Angel
Greg Macke is a car blogger and author of “My 7 Secrets to Buying a High Quality Used Car”. He is a professional car buyer and consumer advocate working closely in the industry to improve the buyer’s experience. His high quality car buying tutorials offer help to the car buying public. – See more at: https://carbuyingsupport.com/
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