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The Best and Worst Time of the Year to Buy a New Car

Buying a new car can be exciting, but it can also be costly. To make the most of your car-buying dollar, you want to make your move when dealerships are more likely to be offering bargains. To make it easier for you, we've gathered a list of the best and worst times to get your new wheels:

Best Times

Blog The Best and Worst Time of the Year to Buy a New Car

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  • At the end of a model year (assuming you want the current year model). When the new models come in, dealerships need to get rid of the current year's models to make room. Release dates can vary by manufacturer, but in general most new models are rolled out during the late summer or very early fall. Don't wait until the last minute though –inventory on current year models tends to be limited once the fall rolls around, so shop early for the best selection.
  • At the end of the month or quarter. Dealers (and salespeople) have quotas they need to make, and most of those quotas (and any related rewards and incentives for meeting those quotas) are based on monthly and quarterly benchmarks. That means when the end of the month comes around, car dealers are far more eager to make a sale than they are at the start of the month.
  • In the fall. Not only are old models being moved out, but fall is also a time when most people start thinking about holiday bills – and that means they're less likely to consider taking on a car loan. Fewer sales and lower demand means more opportunities for savings for you.
  • Black Friday. Yep, even car dealerships get in on the act. They know people are in shopping mode when Black Friday rolls around, and most are prepared with discounts of their own. If you can combine these discounts with year-end savings on the current year's models or other rebate programs, so much the better.

Worst Times

  • In the spring. Warmer weather and tax refunds bring buyers out in droves. With so much demand, dealers are far less likely to be in the mood to lower their prices. Plus they still have several months before the new models flood the lots.
  • At the beginning of a new model year (assuming you want next year's model). New models generally are in high demand, so there's no real motivation to offer low prices or other buyer incentives.
  • After you've had a few recent credit inquiries. If you've been shopping for a home or applying for credit cards, your credit score can take a temporary hit which means you may not qualify for low loan rates. The good news – credit scores typically rebound within a month or two.

To make the sales process as smooth as possible, get pre-approved for your loan and do your homework online, comparing car models as well as available incentives before you even hit the lots. Oklahoma Central Credit Union makes it easy to do both with an easy car loan application process and a finder tool that let's you zero-in on the make and model you want. Plus, we offer specialty vehicle loans and on-the-spot financing with dozens of Tulsa-area dealerships. Check out our Auto page to learn more.

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