There are times during the year when it is better to buy new or used cars, depending on the car and what you are looking for. For example, as you probably already know, it can be better to buy a convertible or other summer fun car in the fall, when people are looking for more practical cars and those who had convertibles and were planning to sell them after “one final summer” are looking to sell.
If you are buying a car from a dealership, the best time to buy a new car can be in the fall as well. Dealers are trying to empty the lot to make space for next year’s models. The downside to this can be if you want a specific model or color, as that car may be less available and thus the price can be higher. Also, if you are only planning on owning this car for a few years, the older model will have depreciated more, even if it is bought on the same day as a newer model. You do not always need to go during a sale to get the sale price. Unless the period of time is the manufacturer’s incentive period, you can get the same deal for the rest of the year. Manufacturer’s incentives are only available during the incentive period. Dealer’s sales prices can be negotiated at other times of the year, and often when people go to sales, they actually end up paying more than they might have negotiated for on a different day, just because a car buyer might feel that the car they want could be sold to someone else. Incentive periods, however, are good times to go.
On a day to day basis, it’s best to head to the dealership:
• On a weekday, such as a Tuesday or a Wednesday. These days are quieter at the dealership, and you may feel less pressure. The salespeople may feel more conducive to giving you a good deal so that they can make a few sales.
• Near the end of the month. Dealerships often keep monthly records of car sales, and bonuses are given out on top of commissions based on meeting a monthly target. A salesperson and a manager may be easier to negotiate with if they are trying to get a few more sales to reach a target. Targets are based on the number of cars sold, not on profits per car, although the profit per car does affect commission at some dealerships.
On a day when you have a lot of time available. While you do not want to waste too much of your time, rushing through car negotiations can mean that you miss out on the potential for a better deal.
The best time to buy a car, of course, is before you actually need one. Even if you do have to have a car that very day, do give yourself some time to figure out the best car to buy and how much you want to pay.