Timing can be everything when buying a car

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Walk into a dealership at certain times of the year and month, and you just might leave with a bigger discount off the sticker price and a lower payment on your car loan than you’d ordinarily be able to negotiate. Of course, you still need to do your homework on dealer invoice prices and rebates and be prepared to bargain. It’s just that your efforts are likely to be better rewarded if you pick your moment well.

Last day of the month
One opportune time is the last business day of the month. Car salespeople and dealerships have monthly sales quotas and targets to make. They will often shave more than usual off their profit on cars at month-end in order to add another sale to their overall numbers.

End of the year
Their motivation to make an incremental sale is greater still at the end of the calendar year. Dealerships year-end results to worry about, as well as their usual monthly quotas and targets. And December tends to be a slow time for auto sales — most people are more interested in shopping for Christmas gifts than cars.

Late spring or early summer
In months just before the carmakers launch their new models, you may see better-than-usual car deals. Manufacturers as well as dealers want to clear the decks before the new cars are shipped and manufacturers’ rebates are apt to be generous, particularly on models that haven’t sold well.
These kickbacks allow dealers to cut prices further than usual and still make a good margin.

Whether you plan to buy on a certain day of the month or at a certain time of the day, taking advantage of timing can add up to savings for those who are motivated to find them — and don’t mind driving last year’s model.

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