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Why Fall is the Best Time to Buy a New Car

Here’s why the end of the year is typically the best time to buy a new car

A man with silver hair wearing a light blue button up shirt and jeans, wearing a mask, is sitting in a car. He has a seat belt on and is looking at the steering wheel. There is another man standing behind him with an open car door wearing a white button up shirt and a bright blue suit.

Buying a new car is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will make. And like many other big-ticket purchases, everyone wants to know when the best time to buy a new vehicle is. If you can hold off on buying a new car, October to December is one of your best bets for a good deal.

New cars were historically introduced in the fall

The notion that the last quarter of the year is the best time to buy a new car dates back to the 1950s. At the time, automakers often changed the styling of their cars, annually rolling out new vehicles in a practice that is prohibitively expensive today. This led to dealerships trying to get rid of existing stock before the shiny new models arrived.

Why did automakers introduce vehicles in the fall? Because farmers commonly made a trip into town eager to spend some of their hard-earned money after harvesting crops all summer.

Making room for the latest vehicles

The situation is markedly different these days. Car companies introduce new models far less often and do so throughout the year.

But buying late in the year could save you money in the long run. Auto dealers generally don’t like having unsold vehicles from a model year that isn’t current with the calendar, which suggests the presence of a machine that has sat idle for some time.

To help move cars off their lots, there are often financial incentives that range from deep discounts off the purchase price to lower interest rates.

End of the month, quarter and year quotas might also factor into helping a buyer secure a better price. Sales associates may be motivated to reach their sales goals by offering deals that are hard for shoppers to resist.

Flexibility is important

One disadvantage? There is likely to be far less selection from which to choose. With car manufacturers focused on producing new models, the variety of colours and options on last year’s cars will likely be limited to whatever the dealer has in stock. Still, if the financial savings are sufficient, it might be worth giving up that sunroof in order to secure a great deal.

CAA is here to help

If you have questions about buying a new car—or selling your current one—CAA’s auto experts can help. Call 1-866-464-6448 or email CAA Auto Advisors at autoadvice@caasco.ca with any questions you may have.

Image credit: South_agency/iStock