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 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
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 sales people 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 numbers of cars sold, not on profits per car,
although the profit per car does effect 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 a potential for a
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.