When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

Year-end sales events, three-day holiday weekends, and the end of each month have traditionally been the best times to get great deals on a new car. These are the times when dealers look to clear inventory and meet sales quotas.

If you’re in immediate need of a car, have money saved for a down payment, and a steady income so you can afford to make monthly payments, then the best time to buy a car is now. If you have time to shop then start your research now so when sales start you know how to recognize a good deal.

CU SoCal is Southern California’s fastest growing credit union. We can offer up to 120% financing for new and used vehicles.1, competitive rates, quick pre-approvals, no application or funding fees, a personal auto-buying concierge service, and more!

Call CU SoCal at 866-287-6225 to schedule a no-obligation loan consultation with one of our loan experts, or apply online today!


Best Time of the Year to Buy a Car

As you start shopping for a new car, you’ll start to see that car sales advertising has peaks and valleys; times when car commercials and special financing promotions are plentiful and other times the hype quiets down.

Let’s take a look at some of the best times to purchase a car:

End of the Month: If you need a car sooner than later and can’t wait for the larger year-end savings, you’ll still be able to get good discounts purchasing at the end of any month. This is because dealerships have store-wide sales goals, and goals for salespeople who can earn high-dollar bonuses.

End of the Calendar Year: Edmunds.com calls December a "perfect storm" of savings. Automakers and dealerships want to close the year with strong sales. They also want to get rid of the prior model-year cars that are taking up space, so they're motivated. Dealerships also pay holiday bonuses to their sales team, adding to their incentive to boost sales. This means more savings for car buyers.


Best Month to Buy a Car

Here we’ll look at some of the best months in which to get a good deal on buying a car.

October: According to The Motely Fool.com, new-model cars arrive in October. This results in a glut of inventory and puts pressure on sales staff to sell both new-model vehicles and the inventory they have of last year's models.

November: November savings can be greater than October for two important reasons: dealers are motivated to reduce their current year inventory to make way for the new models, and November is when dealerships gear up for Black Friday sales.

December: December is the month with the highest discounts off the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), at an average of 6.1%, according to Edmunds.com.


Best Day of the Week to Buy a Car

Did you know that Monday is the best day to buy a car? And Tuesday is a good day to shop too. While weekends are often packed with car shoppers, you’ll find better deals on Monday and Tuesdays when showrooms are quiet and sales people have more time to negotiate and dedicate to getting your business.


Best Time to Purchase a Car

Here we’ll look at the pros and cons of buying a car that falls into these categories that are often advertised: “end of model year,” “end of model design cycle” and “end of car model life.”

End of Model Year: While dealers offer significant incentives and savings, Autotrader offers some cautionary advice if you don’t plan to keep the car more than a few years. Although the vehicle will be new to you, it will be one-year old when you purchase it and you may lose-out on resale value; if the new year’s model has been redesigned, the vehicle’s design will be instantly outdated. You also may lose out on some new technology and features only offered in the newer model.

End of Model Design Cycle: Again, it’s a matter of how long you plan to keep the car. Automakers provide dealers with discount incentives they can pass on to buyers. As the buyer you should consider factors like: resale value – because a new model tends to hold its value better than an outgoing version, and you may find that technology in the older model leaves you wanting more.

End of Car Model Life: Savvy consumers can take advantage and get one of these overlooked cars at significant savings. However, most discontinued cars tend to lose more value on average. Most used-car shoppers won’t have discontinued cars on their radar, so a dealership isn’t likely to offer you top dollar if you wanted to trade one in. But if you plan on keeping the car for many years, this concern won’t matter since the depreciation will eventually taper off.


The Best Holidays to Buy a Car

Holidays provide opportunities for car buyers to get big savings, as automakers and dealerships look to increase sales. Here’s how the holidays stack up:


New Year’s Eve

According to Autotrader.com, the best holiday to buy a car is New Year’s Eve. The timing is perfect on the last day of the year because it’s the end of the month, the end of the quarter, the end of the year, and a holiday when there are likely to be incentives available on top of being the best possible time to buy a car. New Year’s Day is great too because holiday incentives usually extend through the first couple of days of January.


Black Friday

Experts who analyze car sales agree Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) savings can be significant because it combines several sales factors: holiday season discounts, end of month dealer incentives, and end of the model year promotions. Look for 0% loans, low financing rates, and cash-back offers.


President's Day

After New Year sales are typically slow, making this holiday a popular sales event for car dealers. However, end-of-year holiday savings are generally higher.


Three-Day Weekends

All of the three-day holiday weekends provide sale opportunities and discount incentives for buyers. If you know the make and model, you’ll want to start doing price comparison research months before a holiday weekend. When the holiday weekend arrives, compare the holiday price to your prior research. Don’t hesitate to ask if previously advertised incentives can be added to sweeten the deal.


Fourth of July

Consumer Reports analyzed national data on actual transactions, comparing sticker prices with what consumers paid, to measure the savings that shoppers are getting, and found models that are being bought for 14% or more off their manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).


Memorial Day

This holiday combines the best savings of the three-day holiday with the dealers that will be looking to meet end-of-month quotas, so you could benefit from more dramatic savings.


Labor Day

End-of-summer sales are enticing, and if you know your prices, you could snag a good discount as dealers begin to ramp-up for the New Year. However, if you can wait, you’re likely to see even bigger savings in November and December.


The Best Time to Buy a Used Car

According to The New York Times, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increased demand for used cars, as people are looking to spend less and avoid mass-transit. This creates a potential opportunity to get a great deal on a new car, which dealerships may be eager to move off the lot. Because used cars are in high demand, you could also get more trade-in value for your used car, which you could put toward the purchase of a new vehicle.


Other Tips to Consider

Car manufacturers offer interest rate incentives to car dealers which helps the dealer compete for your business. To get a good APR for a car loan, be sure to ask the dealer about special financing promotions. The main difference between credit union and dealership financing is customer service. Down the road, if you have questions about your loan, you’ll need to correspond directly with the financing company that holds the loan.


Why Savvy Consumers Choose CU SoCal

For over 60 years, the Credit Union of Southern California has been proudly serving Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. We are CU SoCal Southern California's fastest growing credit union in Southern California.


Apply For A CU SoCal Auto Loan Today!

At CU SoCal, we lend on character, not just on credit scores. If you’ve been turned down for an auto loan because of a low credit score, we can help! We listen to your story and look beyond your credit score today to offer the right auto loan that will help you become financially stronger tomorrow.

Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 for an expert, no-obligation consultation or apply for a CU SoCal auto loan today!

DISCLOSURES
1 Amount financed may not exceed 120% retail Kelley Blue Book including tax, license, warranty, etc. Older used vehicles may be eligible up to wholesale Kelley Blue Book value with a one percent rate adjustment.
 

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Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.

 

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