Are you in the market for a new set of wheels? If you are, then you should strongly consider making a purchase during December or January. Auto dealerships often offer the most competitive pricing of the year during these months, and it can make the vehicle of your dreams more affordable than usual.
Why are Prices so Low?
There are very good reasons why vehicle prices are likely to drop during December and January. Here is a quick rundown of why cars cost less during this time of year:
Slow Business– The holidays are often a difficult time for car dealerships. Shoppers are busy thinking about the next trip to the mall or the weekly bargains online. Few people plan to purchase a vehicle as a Christmas present and this lack of interest leads to slow business. Dealerships are more likely to run sales and cut special deals just to get business moving.
Colder Temperatures– Let’s face it, practically no one among us wants to walk around a car lot in sub- freezing temperatures and with vehicles coated in ice and snow. The cold weather felt in most parts of the country tends to make potential buyers stay home. This leads to lower sales and increases the likelihood that dealerships will lower prices to attract attention.
Pressure to Reach Quotas– Like any business, car dealerships strive to meet annual sales targets. December represents the final chance to push through more sales before year end and that means dealers will be more likely to offer a better deal than in other months. Furthermore, salespeople seeking a nice year- end and quarter- end commission might be on the fringe of making an extra bonus and will be more likely to sell vehicles for lower prices than usual.
Need to Eliminate Inventory– New year model cars are often released in the summer or fall each year. Once December rolls around, a dealership might have excessive inventory of certain models from the previous year. If they do, then it is very possible that the dealership sales team may set a goal of prior- year, new car inventory elimination by December 31. This can lead to some very attractive pricing, often right on New Year’s Eve.
A Plan of Action
If a new vehicle is in your immediate plans, a purchase in December or January makes good financial sense. Of the two months, December is usually the best for the four reasons above. January can be good, but you’re not as likely to find the bare- bones prices in January like you will find in December because, once the new year arrives, there is no more opportunity for the dealership to improve December sales figures and the holiday season is over. This is true for both new and used cars, by the way. In fact, experts on the subject often recommend the second half of December as the prime time of the year for used car buyers.
Here at Money Saving Parent, we purchased our minivan a few years ago in December-very close to the end of the year. We received a bargain price that was a few thousand dollars less than it would have cost just a short time earlier. It didn’t hurt that we just had a child and needed the extra space that a minivan provides but even if we didn’t have the new addition to the family, a December vehicle purchase was likely because we were ready for a vehicle upgrade. Our timing was perfect, as we obtained our Dodge Grand Caravan for a very low price. We are still driving it today.
Expand Your Holiday Shopping
December and January are not usually associated with vehicle shopping, but that is precisely what makes it such a good time of year for doing exactly that. Just like with any good or service, slower business leads to lower prices. Businesses realize that a lower priced sale is often still better than no sale. And with the holiday season focused so much on shopping centers and online bargains, fewer people are buying cars and trucks.
No one should purchase a vehicle just for the sake of finding a bargain, but if a new or used car or truck is something you planned to purchase soon anyway, then try to fit a visit to local dealerships into your holiday shopping plans. The money you save can easily cover the cost of Christmas shopping so bundle up and head to the auto dealerships near you for some bargain- basement prices.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey