interior of a car

Is there a better time of year, month, or day to buy a car? This answer has been elusive for many who find themselves in the market for a new car. While no one relishes the idea of haggling for the best price for an automobile, there is something to be said for the element of timing. 

As automobile insurance agents, we are often asked about the very idea that there could be an ideal month, season, or day that is best to purchase a car. The answer to these questions, (although studied at length by varying research groups), is disappointingly, “It depends.” Let’s investigate this topic further by looking at what online comparison shopping giant, Edmunds and nonprofit consumer advocate site, Consumer Reports has to say about this concept. 

As with many things in life, timing is important. If your car dies on the side of the road you may have absolutely no choice in deciding when you want to buy a new car. However, if your car is getting on in years and showing signs that it may be time to move on to a newer model, then you may have some wiggle room as to your timing. 

Here are some of the key timeframes that you may want to consider investing in a new car. 

End of the Month & Year

Depending on the dealership, you may be able to swing a deal if the company is dependent on sales quotas that need to be met by month’s end. Do some online research to determine what methods your local dealership have for incentivizing their salespeople. If it is monthly quotas, you may be in luck if you wait until after the 20th of each month. 

The end of the calendar year may also be a “sweet spot” when it comes to purchasing a car. New data from TrueCar shows that December 31st is a great day to buy a new vehicle, with an average savings of 10.9% off MSRP. More generally, December is the best month to buy a new car. Buyers save an average of 10.3% off MSRP.

Beginning of the New Model Year 

Each model year of an automobile differs, even if just slightly, from the year before. Maybe the new model has different standard and optional features, color choices, or even lower financing incentives.  In some cases, the new year models are a complete overhaul from the year before and can look and drive better from the year before. 

Knowing this, dealerships may offer big sales promotions with aggressive incentives, so as to make room for new inventory in the weeks and months prior to the new models being introduced. According to Edmunds online, “Vehicles for the next model year can debut as early as the spring of the current year. And some cars don’t debut until the spring or summer of their model year. In other words, you’ll see some 2021 vehicles for sale as early as the spring of 2020.” Most new models are on the lots in the fall, with dealers looking to clear older inventory.

We suggest that you do a little research prior to heading out to your local dealership to find out if they have new models on the lot and if they do, what incentives are they offering to clear out the inventory from the previous model year? 

Keep Holidays In Mind

True Car research has shown that the holidays are a popular time for all kinds of shopping, and they’re also a great opportunity to get a great deal on a new car. In addition to President’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Black Friday are also some of the best times to buy. And of course, you can expect great savings during the week of Christmas. Manufacturers sometimes offer additional incentives during these long weekends, making it an even better time to shop.

No matter when you decide to buy your next car, do your homework first to understand what you can afford, what your trade in value will be, and how your insurance will be impacted by this new purchase.