When is the Best Time to Buy a Car? A Guide for Car Buyers
When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?
Everyone wants to get the best deal on their next car purchase, no matter their budget or buying situation. When to buy is a big question, and the answer will be different for everyone. Here we offer information and important dates to help you decide when the best time to purchase is for your circumstances.
What Time of Year Should I Buy a Car?
The best time of year to buy a car is different for everyone. For some, it’s when the next new registration plate is hot off the press, showing you have the newest car in town. For others, it’s a few hours after their current car is condemned at MOT. Maybe it’s a month or so before a new baby is due, or it’s time to trade in the sports car when you decide to take up golf and can’t fit your golf clubs in the less-than-spacious boot.
For those willing and able to wait for their next new or used car, there are a few more factors to consider which may help you get or rest assured you are getting a good deal.
When is the Best Time to Buy a New Car?
There are a number of key dates in the motor trade calendar which may affect the deal you get when buying a new car.
What Time of Year Might I Get a New Car Discount?
Buying a Car in February or August
New number plates are released on March and September 1st every year. For new cars this often means increased demand and even a waiting list in some cases, and you are unlikely to get an overly generous deal when others are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next plate.
This means February, April, August and October to January can be a quiet time for car salespeople, and a good time for you to see what offers are available.
Buying a New Model
If you are looking to buy a new model car, you’re in a similar position to those wanting the latest number plates. Anything new to the market is likely to have received significant press and PR, and subsequently will be in high demand for some time, with little incentive for dealerships to discount those models until demand falls.
If you are happy to wait until the initial frenzy has subsided, or better, the next new model is released from that range, you may find salespeople are able to be a bit more flexible and the manufacturer may have released discount to help move old models out to make room for new stock.
The End of the Quarter
Many car dealerships will have monthly sales targets to hit, but more pressing are the quarterly targets which head office will be more heavily focused on.
As we have discussed, March and September are anomalies for the motor trade, but head into your local new car dealership in the third or fourth week of June or December and you’ll soon know if sales have been lagging and they need to make up numbers for the end of the quarter.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?
Used car sales work differently to new car sales so the rules above don’t apply in the same way, and the best time to buy a used car is not the same as when buying a new car.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?
Over the last decade or so, fierce competition and narrow margins have seen a large number of used car dealerships change tact on how they sell. Instead of pricing slightly higher in order to give flexibility to bring prices down, for example to give more than a part exchange is actually worth, or offer a free service, used car dealerships are often more inclined to start with more reasonable prices and stick to them.
This means you are less likely to have to haggle and prod to get the best deal you can; it is already on the table the minute you walk in, or on the windscreen if you will. This way of working means a fair deal for everyone and less time wasted on the traditional back-and-forth of used car buying.
What Time of Year Might I Get a Used Car Discount?
With all the above said, there are still some date-based factors to consider where used car sales are likely to be at their most affordable.
Buying a Used Car in February and August
This is one area where a lot of the same rules apply. There is no ‘manufacturer bonus’ or incentive from them to help used car dealers move cars on in the way you would find in a new car dealership, and while a more recent registration plate will affect the price, it is one of a range of factors considered when pricing the car up.
Used car sales are still affected by new registration dates though, as the influx of cars coming to the end of their HP and PCP finance arrangements are traded in and sent on to used car dealers to sell.
Buy When a Newer Model Comes Out
If you have had your eye on a particular used car, do a little background research to find out how old the current model is, and what plans there are to replace it. Used car values decline when a new model comes out. For example, a Mk4 will decrease more sharply but temporarily in value upon the arrival of a Mk5, but then level out. For each new generation of a make and model that comes out, the value of its predecessors will suffer a little more.
Buy a Used Car in December
In December the vast majority of people are funnelling their money into Christmas and buying a car is not on many people’s ‘to-do’ list. Despite being a slow month for car sales teams, December is still the end of a quarter, and they still have targets to hit. Take advantage of this quiet period and you may find a larger range of used cars available with salespeople who will do what they can to help you secure a good deal.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Car
The most important factor in deciding when the best time is to buy a car, is when it suits you. Make sure you plan to buy a new or used car when it is financially and practically viable for your situation.
Here’s a few pointers on determining when the right time to buy a car is for you:
- Is there a practical deadline for the purchase such as a new baby or your old car has expired?
- Are your household costs likely to increase or decrease in the imminent future?
- Are your household earnings likely to increase or decrease in the imminent future?
- Do you have any other loans or debts outstanding that need to be settled before you enter a new finance agreement?
- Do you have the deposit available?
- Can you comfortably afford the monthly payments if taking finance?
Buying a Used Car from DCC
Speak to the sales team at DCC about any car in our live used car stocklist at any time of year to get a competitive price and low finance deals, no matter what time of year it is.
You can start your car buying journey with DCC online or pop in to one of our showrooms.
Every used car from DCC come with:
- 128 point AA approved inspection check
- Minimum 6 month MOT
- Minimum 6 month/6,000 mile before next service
- 12 month AA breakdown cover
- 6 month warranty with lifetime warranty available
- All tyres under 3mm replaced before sale
- All brakes over 70% worn replaced before sale
Browse DCC Used Car Stock and Buy Online Quickly and Easily Without Leaving the House
View the full range of cars available at DCC’s three Hampshire used car sites. View finance examples for every car we sell and arrange a walkaround on any vehicle which takes your interest. Your sales team are available to answer any questions you have about buying a used car online, contact our used car sales team today.