Best, Worst Times to Buy a New Car

Woman hugging green car.

If the financial timing is right for you, make sure it's also the best time to get a good deal:

Shop early in the week. Most consumers shop on weekends when dealerships are full and salespeople are busy. By avoiding the crowd, you can get the salesperson's undivided attention.

Make your offer late in the day. If you've done your homework, know exactly what car you want and are ready to make a reasonable offer, visiting the dealership near closing time may save you time and money.

Shop at the end of the month or quarter. Dealers and salespeople have monthly and quarterly sales goals they must meet to qualify for certain bonus levels. So the end of the month (or the quarter) is a good time to go shopping.

Although you can't predict whether the dealers or salespeople have made their sales goals, it's still worth checking to see if they're hungry to make some real deals.

Get deals on outgoing models. Manufacturers typically roll out new models in late summer and fall, and dealers need to make room for incoming inventory. This often creates a great deal of price flexibility. Though a shorter supply of outgoing models may limit your choice of colors and options, manufacturers frequently offer additional sales incentives, bringing their prices down even further.

Snag year-end savings. As the new calendar year approaches, dealerships are trying to meet sales quotas that could reduce fees and taxes on year-end inventory. Plus, salespeople are trying to meet sales goals that may trigger holiday bonuses. On top of that, incoming newer models may be in greater supply, making their pricing more flexible.

Watch the season. Statistics show that springtime may not be the best time to buy a new car: More people are out and about as winter weather clears, and tax refund checks are warming consumers' pockets. With summer days ahead, more shoppers are looking for their next new car, which means dealers don't need to offer quite as many discounts to entice buyers.

SUV Shopping? August is considered a good month to get discounts on several body types -- most notably, wagons, sport utility vehicles and coupes -- since that's the time when new models roll in.

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