Consumer Beliefs - The Best Time to Buy a Car

Difficult Car Buying Decisions? Timing is Everything

No one wants to pay full price when it comes to major purchases. Consumers want to be sure that they are getting the most out of their hard-earned money – and a car is one of the biggest buying decisions to be made. However, there are many differing opinions on when the best time to buy a car might be. As a dealership, you may wish to consider their timing opinions.

Dealerships seem to have a sale opportunity for every holiday of the year. With all of these sales, how does the buyer pick the best time to purchase? The answer is simple: whenever they have the need or desire to get a new ride.

Buying a car is a decision that isn't always made with a time restriction. It can be a lengthy process, and no one wants to add any pressure to their decision. The sharpest consumers realize that if they really want to buy at the absolute right time to maximize value, there are typically only a few options that could leave more coins in their pockets:

  • The end of the month: Dealerships often give quotas to their salespeople to meet by the end of the month. This means that the closer the buyer visits the dealer near a deadline, the more likely a salesperson is to cut a deal. However, if the salesperson has already met his or her quota for the month, they might not get the discount that they hoped for. Each salesperson and dealership should keep tight their quotas and achievements. Don't post results on whiteboards that may be publicly visible.
  • The end of the calendar year: Informed consumers know that December is a good time of year for shoppers to buy or lease a new car. Data suggests that year-end sales events are the best time to pick up brand-new inventory from the outgoing model year. It's true dealerships want to end the year in the black, and they also want to make room for next year’s new inventory. However, a limited inventory of cars may increase demand and limit shoppers' savings. The best advice for every dealer is to sell early!
  • October/ November: Car sales tend to follow a rule: the sales are at their best when new inventory is released. These months are when that usually happens, meaning that the best sales are usually at the end of the year.
  • May, June, July, August, and September: While not as heavy, thrifty buyers in a time crunch to unload their clunker know they have more favorable deals these months than the months at the beginning of the year.
  • Early in the week: Weekends tend to be the busiest time at a dealership, which means that salespeople might have less attention to devote to buyers. Remember to reward each shopper with your time and attention. Locate the impulse buyers and those who you can promise a better experience during the week.

At the end of the day, consumers and salespersons appreciate transparency. After all, a salesperson is also a consumer of some products.

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