To help prepare car shoppers during this busy buying season, the experts at Autotrader offer the following tips:
Look for seasonal trends. The season in which you purchase your vehicle matters. For example, late summer and early fall is when new model-year vehicles are rolling into dealers' inventories. Some of the best deals are on "leftover" models. For instance, a 2016 model may be steeply discounted once 2017 models arrive. In some cases, dealers will even have the previous model year in stock. For example, Autotrader.com still has listings for brand-new 2015 model vehicles.
End of the … The prime time to get the best deal is often the end of the weekend, month, quarter or year. If a lofty "end of period" bonus is reachable, salespeople might be more willing to work with you on a deal if it helps them garner an even bigger payout for beating quota. Also, end-of-day shopping can yield advantageous pricing if a weary dealer is ready to go home, but make sure you're serious about your car purchase and aren't wasting anyone's time.
Shop smart this holiday. Car shoppers should look out for holiday and model-year-end specials. Usually sales events of this kind offer good incentives to buyers, so you might be able to work out a lower price than at another time of the year. Holiday offers are often better, because automakers add extra incentives to meet annual sale goals and targets.
"From dealerships and financing to models and options, the key is to understand what's right for you and your particular situation," said Moody. "Do your homework before you start shopping, and pick the end of just about any period that is convenient. By being knowledgeable about what you're buying and planning your timing wisely, you'll stand a better chance of making the best choice and getting a good deal."