It wasn’t long ago that everyone looked at fall as the best time to purchase a new car. Dealerships would gussy up their showrooms, bring in the most popular highly-anticipated new models, and run ad after ad promoting bargain-basement prices that couldn’t be beat at any other time of year. Now the shine has somewhat worn off the fall buying season. Buyers are much more money-conscious and less eager to be the guinea pigs trying out the new-model-year vehicles.

Now it seems that manufacturers are putting a lot more emphasis on end-of-year purchasing. Most of them tie their promo slogans in with the pomp and circumstance of the holidays somehow; Holiday Spectaculars, Year-End Celebrations, and Christmas Car-Buying Bonanzas. Do all the added festivities and sales pricing really make for a great savings to the consumer though? Is the end of the year the best time to buy? Maybe. Here are a few tips to help you out, should you decide to take advantage of the manufacturers’ holiday generosity.

1.) Do I really want to try out a new model year?

That depends on the deal you can get. Do your homework and find out if a particular model is flying out of the showroom or not. You can usually find sales figures for the current year at places like Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) or the Bureau of Transportation Services (www.bts.gov). If the new model year of a particular vehicle isn’t selling that well, there’s a lot better chance the dealer is willing to cut you a deal on it. Especially if they’ve overstocked their lot with that particular model. Which leads me to my next point…

2.) Shop, shop, shop, and then shop some more.

We all typically have a dealership we stick with or a salesperson we’ve been buying from for quite some time. That can be either a bad or a good thing. Having trust in a person selling you something as expensive as an automobile is almost essential. However, if you become too comfortable with a particular salesperson, you may be missing out on great deals elsewhere. Make sure you check out every available dealership within a certain radius of where you live. And don’t forget about the old reliable resource, the Internet. There are tons of models being sold from dealerships online at great prices and then shipped to people across the country. If all else fails, you may be able to get your dealership to match a price from somewhere else.

3.) Will I get a better deal on last year’s model?

Again, this goes to shopping around. If a particular dealership has an overstock of previous model-year vehicles, then yes, they’re probably going to be a lot more apt to cut some really good deals to offload them. However, this is where you need to remember the rule that your vehicle loses up to 20% of its value the second you drive it off the lot. That goes nearly double for a vehicle that’s already a year old. You’ll also want to find out how long the car has been on the lot as well. The worst thing you can do to a car, even a new car, is let it sit. Moving parts on a car stay fresher the more often they’re used. Most dealers will be able to tell you the delivery date of a vehicle to the lot. If it’s been longer than 6-8 months, go for the throat on the price.

4.) Don’t just look at the sticker.

It’s the end of the year. There are going to be deals galore out there. Don’t just satisfy yourself with paying less than what the sticker says. Don’t forget to find the great incentives that go along with it. Chances are you’ll be financing your new car. What’s better than paying no interest, or even an extremely low interest rate? Not only can you find extremely low interest rates, but you may also find some deals that allow you to suspend payments, making it easier to catch up on those holiday bills, or even get some cash back in your pocket. Even if you’re comfortable with a particular make, check out the available deals. You might find another car out there that will surprise you. Happy Holidays and Happy Hunting.

See list of all new car deals, new car tax credit from the federal government, new hybrid tax credit, new electric vehicle tax credit.

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