Pundits and car experts have been cautioning against buying a car at the present time, but iSeeCars has gathered these tips for buying a car now – if you have to.
1. Consider buying bigger. It may seem contrarian, but when you’re looking to buy wheels now, maybe your best deal is on a larger vehicle. Dealer lots may be overstocked on full-size SUVs like the 2011XL or 2011 , even the 2011 . Chances are, they’ll be willing to strike a better deal than you’d get on a more fuel-efficient midsize crossover or small or midsize sedan. Yes, you’ll probably pay more in gas, but consider your overall outlay, especially with the gap between vehicle costs shrinking.
2. Buy what nobody else wants. Does this sound insane? It’s not, actually. Everybody knows that when the end of a model year approaches, people are looking to buy the newer cars coming from manufacturers. So, if there’s a vehicle that’s on its last year before a redesigned version, you’ll stand a better chance of getting a good deal on the outgoing one.
3. Pull out all the stops searching for remaining incentives. It’s a fact that incentives are drying up, but there are still some out there. The trick is to find out what they are and go from there. Check sites like TrueCar, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, all of which offer information on which makes and models have incentives. As an example, the May report from TrueCar shows that the 2011 makes with the greatest discounts were Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, GMC and Suzuki.
4. Find out who’s got inventory. Similar to digging to find available incentives, scour news reports and sites such as TrueCar to find out what vehicles have large inventories remaining. That’s because manufacturers and dealers will be more likely to lower prices – and you could wind up with a better deal – on those long-on-the-lot vehicles. Here’s what TrueCar found for May. Thehad a 133-day inventory, while the had 143 days. But don’t think you’ll get too far looking for the hot-selling compact or midsize crossover. They’re the shortest day’s supply, at nine and eight days, respectively. That is, unless you’re after the 2011 , with only a seven day supply.
5. Now may be the time to lease. If you can’t afford the new car prices, shop around for a good 24- to 36-month lease. The car market may be quite a bit different two years down the road and, in the meantime, you’ll have new wheels for less money than if you purchase new. Cars with higher residual values – like the 2012, at 58 percent of original MSRP – are likely candidates for excellent leasing deals. But don’t just lease because you think the monthly cost is less. If you regularly drive more than the annual mileage cap (typically 10,000 or 12,000 miles), leasing may not be for you. If you’re already in a lease and it’s running out, see if you can get a six-month extension. That’ll buy you some time.
6. Sit tight. Unless your current car is ready to expire (you’ve driven it into the ground), the last option is to do nothing. That’s right. Our final tip for buying a car now if you have to is to just wait out the market. You’ll probably have to put some money into fixing up what’s wrong with your present car, maybe ante up a bit more in maintenance, but the cash you save can be put to better use down the road when things ease up a bit and there are better deals on new cars.