Let’s face it. If you’re the kind of car buyer that will drive 100 miles to save $100, or will scour the Internet to find the best incentives being offered by manufacturers, you’re also likely to know the best times of the year to potentially snag the best deal.

For many car shoppers, this falls around the Labor Day weekend. Traditionally, the Labor Day holiday, particularly if it falls on a week-end, is a three-day car-buying bonanza. At least, it can be. The trick is to have all the information ahead of time, so that you’re not at the mercy of a hungry car salesperson out to fill his or her monthly quota.

But, back to why Labor Day is a good time to buy a car. Here are some common reasons:

  • Dealers anxious to clear out old models – As fall approaches, dealers get jittery about the excess inventory clogging their lots. Unsold stock means they’ll get less new inventory rolling in. Too many days’ supply also means a car, truck, crossover, SUV or hybrid is going to need some serious discounting to move. This is good news for buyers looking for a great deal.


  • Making way for new arrivals – Coinciding with the impetus to dump excess inventory is the desire to make room for the new models that are coming out from manufacturers and en route to the dealership. The more the dealer turns, the more the dealer earns, as in earns the right to have the hottest models and in larger quantities. This is the other side of the buyer’s good-news coin. With a big shipment of 2014 models on the way, the dealer’s salespeople are much more motivated to negotiate a good price on current models on the lot.
  • Close out month of August – All dealers have a big push for salespeople to close out the month and fill their quotas. This year, with Labor Day falling on a Monday, that means there’s Saturday, August 31 to close out the month. Some dealers will have big four-day sales events for Labor Day stretching from Friday, August 30 through Monday, September 2. Again, good news for car shoppers eager to secure the best price on a new vehicle.


  • Incentives may be higher – Keep in mind that the incentives or cash-back offers come from the manufacturer, not the dealer. And you need to know what incentives are available before you head to the dealership. Don’t expect the salesperson to automatically clue you in on what’s available. With redesigned 2014 models possibly already on the lot, the incentives may be higher on the 2013 models – including those 2013 vehicles that were redesigned this year.
  • Selection greater – Some consumers think that waiting until the snow flies or December rolls around is a better strategy to get the best car deal. What they fail to consider is that the selection dwindles the later in the year it gets. Why settle for a color you dislike or a car that doesn’t have all the options you want? Come in during the Labor Day sale to have a better chance of finding just what you want – at a better price.

Of course, also consider that the best time to buy a car depends on other factors beside price. If you need a car, or know you will need one in the near future, maybe now is the best time to start researching deals. Most of the major car companies already have attractive cash-back offers or special leasing deals good through Labor Day (many expire September 3).

All in all, Labor Day this year is shaping up to be a good time to buy a car.

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