Buying a new car is a big financial decision, but get the timing right and you could potentially shave hundreds, or even thousands, off the purchase price.
Why do prices fluctuate throughout the year?
Many factors influence the price you pay for a car – from sales targets and new registration plates to promotional discounts and car model upgrades.
Prices often change month on month though, especially around the time that new licence plates are released in March and September.
So here is what you need to know before you hit the forecourts.
Don’t wait until the weekend
Car dealerships are often much busier at the weekend when more people have time off work. A mid-week or evening visit might ensure you get some quality time with the sales staff to negotiate prices and take a car out for a test drive.
Christmas and bank holiday sales
December and the Christmas period is often one of the quietest for car sales, so dealers are more inclined to offer price reductions in a bid to sell more.
As with most retailers, Boxing Day sales are common and these usually extend well into January, so it can be a particularly good time to buy.
Other bank holidays often also coincide with special sales promotions.
When manufacturers release a newer version of car models – such as the BMW Five series, or Ford Focus Zetec – the soon to be replaced model often drops in price. You might miss out on a slightly better stereo or automatic-opening boot, but you could be getting what is essentially the same car for a lot less.
Similar pricing patterns can be seen around the time when new car licence plates are released each year.
The resale value of a car is heavily influenced by its age, so buyer demand usually surges in March and September when the new registrations come out. Dealers, therefore, often reduce prices the month before on the same car model, as there can be a sales lull while buyers wait for the new plates.
Buy in the ‘right’ season
It’s not surprising that buying an open-top convertible is hugely influenced by the weather, with most people looking to purchase one during the summer months when they can take advantage of driving with the roof down! If you’ve been considering getting one for a while, the reality is, you’d be better off buying it in winter when they are less in demand.
The same can also be said for four-wheel drives. If you’re looking for a car to get you through winter snow and ice, don’t wait until winter to purchase one – timing is everything when it comes to getting the best deal.
Now you’re ready to bag a bargain
Car salespeople are pros when it comes to negotiating a deal! Hopefully, our timing tips lead you in the right direction, but don’t forget you might still need to do a bit of haggling to bag a bargain, so be prepared to play hardball!