It’s not the most popular way to spend the last day of the year, looking at cars in a dealership. But it might be a surprisingly rewarding way to wrap up the past year, if you’re looking for a bargain … and if you know where to look.
Why New Year’s Eve?
New Year’s Eve is generally when you’re going to find the bargains. In fact, those tracking bargains notice a steady upward trend for car dealerships; without exception, the ten best days for discounts all fall on days after Thanksgiving.
There are a number of reasons for this trend. First, salespeople have quotas to hit and goals to make just like everyone else in their job, and if they’re working New Year’s Eve, they’d like to finish off the year with a good sale. Secondly, the end of the year is the last chance for most dealerships to clear out their inventory and make room for the new year. Discounts will be particularly steep on models that have been replaced with the new model year, as those cars will be worth less when midnight strikes.
Finally, and most importantly, not a lot of people are shopping for a new car right before the ball drops. Especially for dealerships, these are some of the absolute worst shopping days of the year, and beyond a certain point, they really just need to get customers in the door, looking at their wares.
This is helped considerably by mass market car manufacturers offering incentives. The holiday season was once largely seen as territory for luxury car companies to put their wares up for loving families with a lot of money to spend on each other, but car companies have been widening the practice across all their brands in recent years, and the upcoming season promises to be the most competitive yet. That means there’s even more deals to be had than usual.
So all of these factors can, in fact, be in your favor when you step inside the dealerships December 31st. But should you go bargain-hunting?
Should You Shop?
First of all, end of the year or beginning of the year, don’t go into a dealership without some financing in place already. This is useful for a few reasons; one, dealerships can almost never offer you the best financing deals, and the holiday season might slow down the approval process in the first place. Two, it puts more pressure on the sales staff to work with you; after all, they need a guaranteed sale, and you’ve got money they can put in the bank. It gives you substantially more leverage in the negotiation.
However, that doesn’t mean any car is a good deal. Do some research before you walk in the door of a dealership, and know exactly what you want and why you want it. Otherwise, they may try to steer you to a car that’s more advantageous for them to sell than for you to buy.
Still, it’s worth hunting for deals on the last day of the year. After all, if you can ring in the new year with a new car, it’ll likely be a much happier year for your family.