When the autumn winds begin to blow in the Windy City, this is the sign for automobile hunters that the season has come for the best bargains of the entire year.
Fall is the time when the big car companies roll out their new models, manufacturers remake their schedules, and everything is in motion.
But waiting patiently for the right timing isn’t all you have to do. Before you shop, make sure you have financing ready. Take a look at the inventories of your local dealers. Do some research into pricing for the car you have in mind.
Here are the opportunities to watch for if you want to pick up a great deal:
New Model Launch
All three of the American mega-car makers change over their new models around Labor Day. The demand for the latest models puts pressure on car salespeople to reduce their inventory of the left-overs from the previous year. You can snag that used Acura in Chicago you had your eye on all year for the lowest price in September.
End of the Month Surge
The last five days of any month are the best time to buy because that is when the sales people are most motivated to make their quotas. Some dealers dangle monthly bonuses in front of their sales force for hitting benchmarks for moving inventory. The dealer may even be ready to sell that last car at a loss because it will push him over the line.
Look for deals like this at the high-volume car lots. You may not know which salesperson is willing to cut the price the deepest, but shopping during the last week of August or September will improve your odds.
Year End – the next-best time to buy
If your situation lends itself better to buying just after Christmas but before tax season, the year-end sales are a period to consider. This is a particularly good time if you’re shopping for a luxury car. All of the motivation that applies to sales in September applies here. The downside is that you may not have the best choice of model, options, or color.
New Model Release
And speaking of models, when a carmaker releases a new design, it creates pressure for the salesforce to reduce inventory of the older model. This is a great time to get a good deal. Remember that not all manufacturers release new models in August or September.
Keep in mind that when buying an older model, the resale value may not be as great as the newer one, but that’s what created the bargain you found in the first place.
Final Year Phase-Out
The last year of a model’s manufacture can create a great opportunity for a bargain. When an automobile is being discontinued, the prices fall even more steeply.
And finally, shop during the week. When the showroom is full of shoppers, there is less incentive for the sales rep to bargain.