There are plenty of stories and rumors about when it’s a good time to buy a car and when you shouldn’t go near the dealership, and one of the times that’s supposed to be the best is in the fall. But is it actually a good time to hit the dealership? The answer is yes; but you’ll still need to keep an eye out for yourself when shopping.
Falling Leaves, Falling Prices
The general logic is this: As the fall progresses, the new models are arriving at dealerships, and that puts pressure on sales staffs to get rid of old inventory to make way for the new. So by showing up, and driving a hard bargain, you can get a better deal on a car than you normally would.
It is true that new models are arriving at dealerships, and it’s also true there’s inventory pressure as a result. The longer the inventory stays at the dealership, the more expensive it gets for them to hang onto it, and in fact, once the new model comes out, last year’s begins to drop in value at a steady pace. So they do have a compelling reason to sell old models off at a more reasonable price.
Similarly, the fall is when sales personnel are wrapping up the year and generally look at their numbers overall. The theory is that if a salesperson needs a boost, they’ll be more willing to work with you to get the car sold. And this can also be true. However, these aren’t hard and fast rules, and there are a few caveats.
Set Up For The Fall
First of all, this works on a series of assumptions. The first is that the dealership has older inventory it wants to sell. This is likely true; no inventory system is perfect, and they may have a few vehicles they’d like to get rid of. But they may not be the vehicles you’re interested in; often it won’t be the popular and best-selling models that they’ve got left, but the models that weren’t as in high demand for various reasons. And they may not have a lot of those, depending on their inventory system.
Secondly, it hinges on the salesperson wanting to make just one more sale to have a better year or month. That’s not really reliable; needless to say, salespeople always want to make a sale, but looking for the “desperate” salesman is not going to win you friends and it may not be the best strategy.
The best way to get a deal is to have leverage right off the bat, no matter what time of year it is. Research what car will best fit your needs and what you want out of it in terms of extras and styling. Then, secure your financing beforehand, so you’ll know that you can afford it and will have that leverage with the sale. No matter what the salesperson has for a record, there’s nothing like having a guaranteed sale if they’ll meet you halfway to ensure a better deal.