Car sales have never been better, and that’s triumphant news for both domestic and foreign economy. But what does it mean for you? As a consumer, your needs are different from the sellers. Your goal is to buy a car that meets your needs, budget, and style without breaking the bank.
Considering inflation and demand, the cost of cars has definitely gone up through the years, and it will continue to do so in the future. Right now, as someone who needs to buy vehicles as you get older and priorities change, it’s important to know the best times to get a great bargain:
End of the . . .
A practical advice when buying a car is to do so whenever you’re ready. That means you have the funds, the ability to enter a contract, the knowledge of being a good driver, and the money to buy auto insurance.
But even if you have all of these, you may still want to hold off your purchase until the end of certain periods:
Why is it wise to buy a car at the end of the month? Answer: quota. Quota is the reason why car salespersons will be very persistent to the point of being annoying. This also explains why they are willing to give as many concessions as they are allowed just to convince you to make a purchase. They do these all the time, but you’ll find them more aggressive by the month’s end.
The month’s end is their final stretch to reach their goal. Whether they’ll receive a bonus for this or not, it’s beyond your concern. At this point, they are more likely open to hearing your preferred deal in the hopes you’ll make a purchase right there and then.
There are two reasons why it’s wise to buy a vehicle at the end of the day. One, salespersons are ready to go home. Inasmuch as they want to tell you to go back the next day, they can’t because of quota. However, there’s a good chance they will be more receptive to your ideal terms. In other words, they may try to avoid lengthy negotiations with you.
The second reason is still quota. This is especially true among salespersons who have yet to prove their mettle, have failed to reach their quota the previous month, are currently having poor feedback, or have yet to improve sales performance for the month.
You may also consider buying a car at a bargain during the end of the holidays. Here’s why. Just like any other store, car sellers understand the demand is high during the holiday season, so they increase their inventory. Nevertheless, more often than not, they won’t get all their cars sold out.
Maintaining inventory isn’t cheap, especially for bulky items like cars. They are spending on utilities and space for items that don’t realize any revenue or profit. To curb potential losses, improve cash flow, and make a profit, they will sell their inventory a.k.a. vehicles at a discount.
Added tip: “How about the best days or the best times?” The answer here is simple: go when there’s hardly any traffic. This means you may want to drop by a car dealership between Tuesdays and Thursdays (and definitely not on the weekends), as well as late in the afternoon. As a buyer, this is also a good time for you since you have less competition. You have enough time to check the vehicles, ask your questions, and negotiate a great deal.
Speaking of holidays . . .
Previously, we talked about how it’s smart to get a vehicle after the holidays. The good news is there are holidays that may also be an equally awesome time to make a purchase!
• Black Friday
Isn’t the demand for vehicles high during Black Friday? It is definitely higher than other times of the year, but it’s not as exceptional as that of electronics such as television sets and mobile gadgets. Besides, car dealerships know it’s the season of markdowns and discounts; their competitions are going to sell theirs at a much cheaper price. To compete, they have to bring down theirs too.
There are actually multitudes of reasons why it pays to shop for cars on Christmas. Here are some of the following:
o People are more likely going to sell their old cars as a way to save and buy presents to families and friends. In turn, it’s a fantastic season to hunt for affordable used cars in the market.
o It’s almost the end of the year. It’s the last few days for car dealers to meet their quota and hopefully close the year with a bang.
o A lot of people are busy, buying stuff for their loved ones or planning their travel. To bring attention to cars, dealers will give you discounts and rebates.
Added Tip: On average, prices dip from Thanksgiving until close to Christmas. It will go back up but not too high during the New Year, and as the months roll, the prices tend to climb.
Wouldn’t it be fun to drive a newly purchased car during spring break or even the summer? It would be exhilarating to spend some humid and hot days joyriding with friends. If you’re looking for a bargain, though, these may not be the best times. Rather, you may want to wait until the summer is almost over and the leaves begin to change color.
What makes fall a great time to buy a car? As mentioned, cars tend to be much cheaper at the start of Thanksgiving as the demand also decreases. But there’s also another reason, which is the release of new car models.
Not all car models are released around this season, but most are. Nothing will also stop these car manufacturers from producing better and newer vehicles around this time, and that creates a dilemma for car dealers.
This is because they’re stuck with two types of inventories: old and new. To reduce the losses of the still-unsold vehicles, avoid the buildup of inventory, and usher in new models, car dealers will prefer to sell existing vehicles at a bargain.
Added Tip: If new cars are not launched during late summer to early fall, there’s a possibility they will be released around the first month, even the New Year. This therefore makes another good time to hunt for bargains.
The Best Times Don’t End
One of the practical philosophies of life is to have as many choices as you can including the best times to get a car. Aside from the ones mentioned above, wait for the following:
Rebates can happen anytime, and one of the foremost reasons is to get rid of old inventory or cars that prove to be harder to sell. With rebates, you get a portion of your money back, allowing you to save on your purchase.
• “Bad” reviews
As they say, bad publicity is still good publicity. As a smart buyer, you would have to wait until the initial reviews come out before you decide to buy a car. Normally, the first few reviews come from credible sources, authorities, and experts who are asked by car companies to test-drive and give their thoughts about the features and experience.
And if the reviews aren’t pretty, they can hurt a big deal on a person’s perception of a certain car, which may in turn force dealers to offer discounts and low prices just to get car sales moving.
But here’s the thing about reviews: they’re almost always subjective. If you find the car still enough to meet your needs, you can use these “bad” reviews to your advantage and leverage.
Please don’t take this to mean you should continue buying a recalled vehicle. Rather, one recall can seriously damage a brand (which explains why companies spend millions on marketing and PR, especially during crises such as this). A negative perception can surely affect sales. While this may be a bad time for the company, this may be a good one for you as all other car models may be sold at a bargain.
Get the Best Deals at Car auctions
Do you know car auctions are happening more frequently and practically everywhere? Over the last few years, these auctions have become more efficient and professional, giving you dozens of high-quality used cars to choose from.
There are two general types of auctions: public and private. The latter are usually attended by car dealers that are ready to buy in bulk. Fortunately, most of the car auctions are public.
Auctions can also be organized by the government, which can be on local, state, and federal level. Normally, the vehicles auctioned here are already used by the government organizations or facilities like schools, hospitals, and the police.
Speaking of police, the department can also organize their own car auction, which will consist of seized or repossessed vehicles. According to law, the government has the right to seize assets it believes to have been acquired by or used for illegal activities. However, since the nature of their job doesn’t involve maintaining a car inventory, they are encouraged to sell their vehicles through an auction.
In a more consumer-level auction, the common participants are banks and other types of lenders who accept vehicles as collateral. These cars are repossessed once the owner goes on default on payments. Like the police, though, lenders cannot keep the vehicles as inventory. They have to sell them to at least recoup their losses from the default.
Not all cars sold in auctions are affordable, at least in what we believe to be cheap. Some of them can still be worth thousands or even millions, especially if they’re in demand, in excellent condition, still have a lot of miles left, and are less than 5 years old.
Nevertheless, most are at least 75% cheaper than their book value all for the reasons stated above.
A number of these auctions are advertised in various media such as newspapers and the Internet. However, if you want to have access to hundreds of these auctions each year, it’s best to subscribe to an auctions list like Gov-auctions.org.
These websites don’t organize auctions, but they serve as a database for all live and online auctions happening close to your area. The list is updated regularly as well, so you know which auctions are active.
Added Tip: Auctioned vehicles are sold in “as is” basis. This is important to know since it’s possible that the repair costs may be more expensive than the actual price of the vehicle.
Some days of the year are far better than the others in terms of buying a car, whether used or new. But you can enjoy a bargain further if you do the following:
• Always test drive the vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying it on a weekday, end of the month, or on Black Friday. Make sure you’ve tested the vehicle you want to buy. While you’re at it, ask these questions: Do you feel comfortable driving it? Is it easy to manage? Are the features to your satisfaction, or do they meet your needs?
If you’re planning to buy during a holiday, it’s best to do this a few days before the actual sale. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself competing with dozens of potential buyers. This recommendation also applies when you want to buy a car in an auction. Auctions usually schedule an inspection at least a day before the auction.
• Keep your guides handy. The Kelly Blue Book is one of your best tools to know about a car’s market or resale value. You will also find the Vehicle History Report helpful.
• Shop around. Don’t let salespersons intimidate or scare you to force you to buy a car ASAP. You have plenty of chances to grab a bargain, and there are a lot of car dealers you can go to.
When it comes to buying used or new cars, exercise patience and due diligence, and you will be rewarded with the car you’ve always wanted.