When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

Timing is almost as important as the make and model you choose.
Timing is almost as important as the make and model you choose.

Timing is almost as important as the make and model you choose.

Whether it's to help get a new driver on the road or a fun gift to yourself, a new vehicle is one of the more important purchases you can make in any given year. With the average price tag of a new vehicle crossing the $40,000 mark, a car purchase should come with significant research and consideration attached. And while things like the make and model, the cost, and the paint color are important criteria for any motorist to consider, there's one other factor you should keep in mind before visiting a dealership—when you'll pull the trigger on a new car.

Best Times to Buy a Car
So you've done your research, secured a down payment or a car loan, and you're counting down the days until you're breathing in that new car smell. It may seem like the perfect time to buy, but your calendar could be telling you otherwise. Though motor vehicle manufacturers are constantly advertising their latest models all year long, it's important to note that the best deals only happen on or around specific dates.

Just as there are better days to buy consumer electronics and fitness products, there are optimal times to buy a vehicle. What it really boils down to is how badly dealerships want to move their existing stock. Cars that sit on a lot represent a considerable amount of revenue loss for a dealership and can cause problems once the new models start coming in. Couple that with quarterly sales quotas and you can start mapping out the prime times to buy a new vehicle.

End of the month/quarter. One of the most important things to keep in mind when shopping for a new vehicle is the fact that nearly every salesperson on the show floor are operating under a monthly or quarterly sales goals. Those goals may come with added incentives for the sales team if met, but that also means they may be more willing to negotiate on a vehicle's price to secure a sale.

End of the year. Holidays like Christmas and New Year's Eve provide the perfect excuse to hold special year-end sales events, making it a good time to hunt for a deal. Buyers get an added leg up since December culminates with the trifecta of year-end, quarterly, and monthly sales goals. Consumers in the past have been known to land sweetheart financing options, cash back deals, or price reductions by waiting until just before the ball drops.

Beginning of the year for used cars. While dealerships try to end their year with a boom in new car sales, they try to do the same at the start the year with used cars. That's largely because January and February tend to see a huge intake of used cars as buyers trade in their old rides for a new one. According to data from iSeeCars.com, the top three months with the highest percentage of used car deals are January (28.7%), February (22.1%), and December (13%).