Buying a new car can be a daunting task. It requires thorough research, budgeting, a pre-approved loan (if necessary), and careful prioritization.
Don’t fret—the car-buying process doesn’t need to be a painful or expensive one. If you want the best deal when you buy a car, timing is everything. We’ve laid out some tips and tricks you can use to walk away with the car you want at a price that won’t break the bank.
Shop at the End of the Year
During late fall and early winter, salespeople and finance managers are looking to meet or exceed quotas, and manufacturers ranging from Nissan to Ford are offering incentives to clear older inventory. This is why November and December often feature lower prices.
The one downside, however, to shopping for cars towards the end of the year is that selections for new cars may be limited. So long as you’re not seeking out a specific model, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Go to the Dealership Right Before Closing
While many salespeople are pushing to get their numbers up at the end of the year, many also have weekly—and even daily —goals to meet. Furthermore, if you come in well-rested and ready to negotiate, you will have an advantage over the salesperson who’s been working all day, especially if you demonstrate you are serious about purchasing a car. The dealer may be more willing to offer discounts in order to get the last deal in before going home.
If you use this method, note the salesperson’s attitude as you enter. While many are more than happy to assist you—and give you a nice price because they want another sale before heading home. Some may be too tired to haggle, have social plans, or simply have already made enough sales in the day (and thus aren’t willing to cut into that sticker price).
Wait for the End of the Month or Quarter
Sales quotas also apply to the end of months and quarters. Remember: car sales representatives work on commission, and many bonuses are given after quotas are satisfied or exceeded. This is why deals are more likely to be given to customers in the days before a big monthly or quarterly sales report.
Realize, however, that each sale must be approved by the dealership’s manager. While most sales are approved, some can be too good to be true. Before you get excited about the deal-of-a-lifetime you just snagged, be sure to relax and wait for approval from the higher-ups first.
Buy Cars When Next Year’s Models Are Released
You’ve heard the saying, “In with the new, out with the old.” Next year’s models typically arrive in late summer to early fall, making dealers eager to sell the remaining cars leftover from the previous year since they are still paying for their inventory. If you’re not trying to get the best and the latest, seek out these older models. Chances are their prices will go down as the new cars come in.
Manufacturers differ in when they release new models. Some come out as early as May. Pay attention to this, and go make a purchase on the older model when the new units hit the lot.
Understand there is no perfect method to getting a great deal on a new car. The key in getting cheap cars is to be flexible and strategic. Research the prices others are getting for your vehicle before even going to the dealership. Also, go to at least three dealerships, so you can compare quotes. If you need financing, compare the terms you get at several financial institutions as well as from the dealership. Finally, keep an eye out for rebates and other incentives for purchasing a vehicle; manufacturers often offer these to buyers.
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