I have got over 20+ years of experience in the automotive industry. Over these last two decades I’ve been asked A LOT of questions about the industry. Whether it’s from friends and family or potential customers, the questions are almost always the same. One of the most common questions that I get asked is “When is the best time to buy a car?” Given the fact that it’s my job to sell as many cars as possible, my obvious go-to answer is always RIGHT NOW!
Looking back however, that is a very simple answer to a commonly-asked question and it doesn’t quite give any insight into when the *actual* best time to buy a car is. If I really sat back and gave this question some thought, the correct answer would be some time between November and the end of January. But why is that?
Whenever you work in the same industry for multiple decades you start to notice trends that always hold true over time. In my experience the automotive sales market takes a drastic turn between the months of November and January. And when you really sit back and think about it, it’s obvious why this happens. It’s the holiday season and people shift their focus to the holidays.
This can mean consumers are busy with holiday planning, decorating, dinner with family and friends, traveling to see distant relatives, or people are simply wanting to wait a few months for their tax refunds before making a large purchase. The last thing anybody wants to do is some (or all) or their holiday budget making a major purchase. And contrary to popular belief, people simply don’t buy cars as Christmas gifts. Over the course of 20+ years I can count on one hand how many people I’ve personally seen buy cars as gifts for a loved one.
This market downturn means that car lots are struggling to make sales which, in turn, means that dealerships are willing to be a little bit more lenient with their prices. This also means that finance companies that finance auto loans are struggling and are willing to venture a little bit outside of their normal guidelines in order to get sales and approvals.
A customer that might have been denied auto financing in April during tax season could very well find themselves getting an approval during the Winter and holiday months, simply because finance companies and car dealerships are fighting tooth and nail to get every sale they can. This also means you might get lower interest rates and you might be able to get an approval with less of a down payment than would be required before, or approved with no down payment at all!
If you want to feel like you’ve got an advantage over the dealer when buying a car, you need to be planning your purchase between November and January. As I mentioned above, I have been doing this for over 20 years. If you have any questions about the car-buying process please give me a call at 253-846-5955 or come visit us at 20310 Mountain Hwy E in Spanaway, WA