When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?
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Buying a car is a significant investment, and finding the best deal can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Manufacturer advertisements mention monthly payments, low financing, cash-back, and more. Since these are the buzzwords associated with paying less for a vehicle, it would seem like they're the only factors that matter.
But have you thought about the best time to buy a car? During the year, the automotive market fluctuates, with sales rising and falling depending on the month, week and day. Other circumstances affecting sales include new models arriving, the need to meet sales targets, and heavily promoted holiday deals.
But if you know when to buy a new car, you can take advantage of some of the best deals available.
Let's go through the best times to buy a car and how you can score a great bargain in the process.
Sales goals: How you can benefit
You've probably faced a deadline at some point in your life. Whether it be work, school, or the need to finish a project, we've all been there. As the target date approaches, pressure builds, and a sense of urgency takes over.
It's no different for salespeople trying to move cars to meet sales targets.
At the end of the month, the sales team at a typical auto dealer may be up for work-related incentives to sell a specific number of vehicles. With a motivated salesperson, you're apt to negotiate a rock-bottom sales price, and you both walk away happy.
Similarly, the end of the year offers another chance at scoring an excellent price. December is known to have the most significant discounts off MSRP, at 6.1 percent. Additionally, incentives are at their strongest, so you'll save even more money.
No matter what time of year you're buying, you'll get a great deal at Shift. You can browse through a wide selection of quality used vehicles on Shift's easy-to-use website and find the one that's right for you, no matter your budget. You'll get a fair, no-haggle price based on powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data.
The best month to buy a car
While December is known to have the absolute best prices and incentives, others offer comparable discounts. However, in a traditional car-buying situation, some months are best avoided, given the lack of markdowns and incentives.
The months with the most significant savings at typical car lots are October, November, and December. With new models becoming plentiful, salespeople want to move prior year versions to make room. As customers look for the latest updated vehicles, outgoing models are less desirable and more discounted.
January, February, March, and April are the months you can expect to pay more when you buy. Typically, sales are stagnant during these months, with February offering the lowest reduction off MSRP at 5.7 percent.
As summer gets closer, deals appear again, with May, June, July, August, and September falling somewhere between the other two periods. The latest and greatest models start trickling in, beginning a period of better prices as the year winds down.
When you're looking to stay within a specific price range, buying used can save you thousands. And when you go with Shift, you get the peace of mind of a fully-inspected vehicle and a free Carfax, regardless of the time of year. This transparency is just one of the reasons Shift is your top source when shopping for a used car.
The best day to buy a car
The best day to buy a car – traditionally speaking – is early in the week, on Monday or Tuesday. While weekends are busy times for salespeople, on weekdays like Monday and Tuesday, they'll have extra time to tend to your questions in the showroom.
But if you buy your car from Shift, you'll never have to visit a showroom. On Shift's easy-to-use website, you can select the vehicle of your choice, and once the purchase is complete, have it delivered directly to your door.
2020 Volkswagen Passat (from $20,150)
Holiday weekend promotions
You've probably seen or heard the advertisements as a holiday weekend approaches. Maybe it's Labor Day or the Fourth of July. Automakers promise significant savings with rebates and other incentives that might sound too good to be true. The thing is, typically, they are.
Take Labor Day, for instance. One of the year's busiest weekends in terms of sales numbers, Labor Day accounts for 2 percent of annual new car sales. With this flurry of activity, salespeople may be eager to move as many vehicles as possible, increasing your chances of scoring an excellent price.
With a celebratory feeling in the air as America celebrates its independence, July 4 is another chance to get the car you want at a discount. Though July 4 doesn't offer the price reductions seen later in the calendar year, you can still benefit from solid promotions.
Other holidays to look out for excellent deals are Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and New Year's Eve. Among those, New Year's Eve offers the ideal combination of salespeople needing to meet the end the of year quotas, holiday promotions, and the need to sell off older models.
Buying a car can be a confusing, time-consuming process. Shift is there for you every step of the way, no matter if it happens to be a holiday weekend or not, working with a network of trusted lenders to secure you the best deal on financing, 365 days a year.
Additional tips to save
Though the timing is essential in your pursuit of savings, other factors are also part of the equation.
The first is traditional aspects of car pricing still apply, like specific models being popular and others less so. The newest, shiniest model that everyone wants to drive probably won't offer much in price reductions. Conversely, a car in a rare trim level or undesirable color will have more room for discounts.
Then there's the matter of your budget and credit rating. You have to know what you're able to spend before signing the papers. And though a manufacturer might offer zero-percent interest on an auto loan, it's contingent on lender approval.
Lastly, biding your time and waiting for the best deal can pay off in the end. You might be excited by a specific car and eager to make it your own, but delaying until the time is right can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Shift takes the hassle out of car buying with their no-haggle pricing. Gone are the days of stressful negotiation as you try to find the best price. Just select the vehicle you want from the comfort of your own home, and Shift will take care of the details.
2018 Mazda CX-5 (from $23,950)
Summing it up: the best time to buy a car
Buying a car can bring a whirlwind of considerations related to finances, vehicle types, or simply finding the best place to buy.
But when you've decided what make and model you're after, waiting for an opportune time to buy is one of the best ways to save. Keeping tabs on various promotions during specific periods, you can choose the best ones in your search for savings. But remember, with Shift, any time is the right time to buy.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.