Is NOW the Best Time to Buy a Car?

It is almost 2018, and the car buying experience sure has been changing. More people are using mobile devices to shop and browse cars than ever before. We can spend hours researching vehicles, reading reviews, comparing models and pricing. According to a 2017. J.D. Power Study however, most of us still need the physical auto dealership. Before buying a car, we want to test the features, drive the vehicle, and ask a real human being all of our questions! If you are an early adopter, a tech savvy person, or someone who just knows exactly what you want – we also have vehicle vending machines (even in Texas now!), and you can complete a purchase online without setting foot in auto dealership. It’s clear that the way we buy cars is still evolving and the auto industry seems to always have something new coming down the pipes.

Is the end of the year the best time to get a new car?

Now with the holiday season in full swing we begin to shift our thinking towards the end of the year. The sexy car commercials have begun. ‘Tis the season for retail and shopping, so why not cars too? Some of us simply don’t get around to it until the end of the year.  We get a lot of questions about car shopping AND car shipping here, and this is definitely one of them. Is the end of the year really the best time to get a deal on a car?

We’re not car salesmen here at Crestline but we do partner with a lot of great auto dealerships across the country. You can trust us to be objective. It’s true that people buy cars all year long; after all, you never know when the engine is going to blow on your 13 year old faithful truck. Sometimes the need for a new car sneaks up on you. But if you’ve been stashing your cash, waiting for the best deal, this time of year may be just what you’ve been waiting for.

We say may because it depends. While it’s true that most auto dealerships are interested in moving inventory off the lot to meet end-of-year goals, There are a few things you should pay attention to. Is there a brand new 2018 model coming to the lot for the vehicle you’ve had your eye on? Now might be the time to grab a 2017 model of that car. But pay attention, because model releases don’t necessarily follow the calendar year.

Pay Attention to Your Credit

Since it is the holiday shopping season, we have to remind you of this. If you need financing for your new car, think first. Auto dealers will be running your credit history to see if you qualify for an auto loan. If you’ve been running all kinds of credit checks for opening new retail cards, or if you applied for an auto loan last month, be careful. It’s better to do your loan applications within a 2-week window, because they essentially count as one inquiry. If you are rate shopping, pay attention to this guide on credit report inquiries and how they work to protect your score!

Check for Rebates and Cash Incentives

While your vehicle’s sticker price may not be at its lowest point, the rebates add up! Take Chevrolet for example. They are trying to move those 2017 models, and they are offering employee pricing for the month of December. It is ALWAYS worth asking about other discounts if you’re a military member, a college student, an education professional, or a recent graduate. Many local dealerships will offer extra cash incentives for these individuals. December car shoppers really have the most significant opportunity to take advantage of these incentives on slower selling, older models. Wondering if a better deal will come along? It isn’t likely. Dive into the history of the particular vehicle make and model you’re looking at. Check what prices were like at this time last year, and even 2-3 years back to help you make a wise decision.

Is the end of the year the best? Short answer, yes.

Unless you’re buying the most in demand car, chances are, you’ll get a good deal this month. Just do your homework, look at the research, and get a great rate on your financing in addition to taking advantage of the rebates and cash offers that abound. Nobody likes doing homework, but this tool from NADA is one of our favorites for getting a great deal on a new or used car. It’s easy to use– all you have to do is enter your zip code to see all the local rebates and incentives being offered at dealerships and manufacturers near you.

Keep in mind that the best deal may not always be in your city! Find a great deal in another state or county? Let Crestline ship it home to your front door! (This also makes for a GREAT Christmas surprise!)

Happy Car Shopping!

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