Aside from buying a house, buying a car is pretty much the biggest single financial investment most of us will ever make. And, similarly to buying a house, when you buy can seriously impact how much you pay. We’ve kept this one short and sweet, highlight exactly when and when not to buy your next car to ensure you grab a great deal.
WHEN TO BUY:
- New model years: Every few years a new model is released by a car manufacturer. It’s at this time that the older models, even though still technically new cars, will likely be on sale for less. If not, it is at least a leverage you have with the dealer.
- New Years: The new year isn’t just a time for resolutions, it’s also a prime time to buy a car. If the builder’s plate on a brand new car has last year’s date, the dealer will be willing to trade aggressively, as last year’s plate denotes the car as that year’s model – even if it is driven for the very first time in the current year. This can be to your advantage when buying new – so be clever when you shop.
- End of Financial Year Sales: This is the #1 busiest time for new car sales. End of financial year sales in June bring big deals and big discounts on new cars. Car manufacturers rely on high consumer activity, so they’re willing to negotiate.
- Christmas: If you’re looking to earn some massive brownie points with a loved one, Christmas is a great time to buy a new car. Because it’s the end of the calendar year, car dealers want to clear out all of the current year models. In order to do this, they’ll be way more likely to offer add-ons and other incentives to get people buying.
In addition to these times, a great rule of thumb is to go with the last day of, well, pretty much anything – the last day of the week (so, the weekend), the last day of the month, the last day of the quarter. Sales guys have targets that they need to meet each week, month and quarter so will often be keen to make that last-minute sale to hit or exceed their targets.
WHEN NOT TO BUY:
Importantly, there are also crappy times to buy a car. Don’t buy…
- Early in the sales cycle: Few incentives will be offered early in the new financial year or early in the sales quarter. Just wait.
- On a whim: Despite what pushy sales people want you to think, buying something as big and financially burdening as a car on a sudden impulse is a bad idea. To get a good deal you really need to do your research. Ideally, do this before you even hit the dealership so you don’t risk getting lured in by “sales speak”.
- When your funds are low: When you have a hefty deposit, your bargaining power goes through the roof.
THE FINISH LINE: Make your decision to buy a new car a measured one. Even if it means holding off for a few months, the savings will make it well worth the wait.
For more information about buying a car, head to Cars 101 – Your ultimate guide to owning a car.