Patience is key to timing a big purchase like a new car. It could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars or if you plan right can save you that much! Be patient and you can score a great deal on a new car!
Best Game Plan: Buy at the end of the year.
If you can wait, buy your new car in the last two weeks of December, when dealers are dying to beat their quotas. Every dealer has annual quotas and there are bonuses for salespeople who meet certain annual figures. This is your opportune time. It could mean up to $3,000 off from the price.
Dealers have the added incentive of clearing last year's models to make room for the new year models. If you don't need the most updated features, you can find a great deal on a car that's only a few months old. Unless there's a major redesign on the model you want, the small difference between this year's and last year's model isn't as big as compared to price difference.
Next Best Game Plan: (If you can't wait until the end of the year.) There are some favorable times year round.
End of the quarter/month: Just like at the end of the year, dealers get bonuses for reaching sales quotas each month and quarter. Start car shopping in the last week of the month. If you are lucky to find a dealer who's just short of his goal, you have a good chance to get a deal if you negotiate.
End of the model year: Find out when your desired car manufacturer is releasing their new model. Sometimes they start shipping them around late summer or early fall, but some models start their new year as early as spring. This is where you can grab a current year model at a good price.
When no one else is shopping: Stay away when dealers have lots of buyers. The spring brings out a volume of buyers when the weather is starting to warm up and people just received their tax refunds. Avoid this time, especially on the weekends. Figure out what you want before, and go to the dealer on a rainy or snowy day. Bad weather days like these are typically slow for car dealers, and they'll be more willing to work with you on price.
A Must Game Plan: Don't buy before you know what you want
Know exactly what you want, and more importantly what you're not willing to pay extra for. It will help you when you sit down to negotiate price with the salesman. If you saw a model on the lot that has everything you need inquire about it. If it's unavailable, ask if there's a similar model on the lot.
Don't agree to pay extra for something you don't want. If they don't have an exact model that your looking for ask the salesperson if he can special order it for you. It's important to ask how long it will take before you can see it. This may just help your chances of the salesperson throwing in the extras you don't want for free just to make the sale that day.
It is always preferable to negotiate when the salesperson is ready. You've got more leverage. But you have to be willing to hit the road without a new car if the salesperson isn't giving you the price you want. Shop around and let your salesman know that you have options. If you can get two dealers bidding against one another, they'll negotiate for you.
When it comes to purchasing a car timing is everything!