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When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Car?

Jack Dreyer | Monday 17th January 2022 1:59pm

Man putting for sale sticker on car windshield

In recent years, the price of cars has skyrocketed — new and used alike. So, for many people looking to buy a car, especially for the first time, it seems there are more hoops to jump through in order to get the best deal.

When purchasing a car, there are numerous factors to consider such as the mileage, the model, and the dealership. But what about the time of year?

As of late, an increasing number of drivers have been considering the seasonal influences on the price of vehicles before purchasing. So, read on to find out whether the time of year actually impacts the price of a car and why you should consider buying at a certain time.

When should I buy a used car?

Twice a year, new number plate formats are introduced. This usually happens around September and March, so just after this time, lots of drivers think about buying a new car or part-exchanging their old car for a new one.

Over the years, these months have come to indicate hubs of trading activity for motorists based on dealership habits. For example, just before the plate changes are introduced, it is common for dealerships to want to sell off old stock to make space for an influx of newer vehicles.

During this time, in August and February, there are likely to be sales of all sorts of cars. So, based on these factors, it is safe to say that early spring and late summer are good times to buy a second-hand car.

When should I buy a new car?

When it comes to buying new cars, the same pre-plate change vogue applies; however, there are a few other factors to consider.

Plate launches

Shopping for a new vehicle in the February and August ‘grace’ periods can be really insightful since dealerships may have sales on and many people tend to hold off purchase until a new plate comes along the following month. Equally, though, shopping in March and September is just as good as car dealerships will have quotas to meet, making negotiation more possible.

Quiet periods

That being said, it is also a good idea to shop during the less popular sales times. At the end of each business quarter, there tends not to be many new cars launched and dealerships are often quite keen to shift the stock they have. So, in months like March, June, September, and December, you may find it easier to negotiate or find a better price on a vehicle.

Sneakily, you may even want to consider the time of week you visit a new car dealership. Since they are often busier on the weekends, visiting on a quiet mid-week day is a surefire way to bag yourself more time with one of their experts. Similarly, Fridays (especially at the end of the month) may see dealerships trying the last push to meet their sales quotas.

Model launches

However, the opposite also applies. Sometimes, it can be just as beneficial to you to shop during peak times. For example, visiting a dealership just as a new model has been launched is strategic since the older, outgoing model is now likely to be discounted.

Price aside, though, targeting outgoing models instead of newly-made ones does limit your customisation options since dealerships will no longer have a steady influx of varied stock.

When should I buy a new car?

When it comes to buying new cars, the same pre-plate change vogue applies; however, there are a few other factors to consider.

Plate launches

Shopping for a new vehicle in the February and August ‘grace’ periods can be really insightful since dealerships may have sales on and many people tend to hold off purchase until a new plate comes along the following month. Equally, though, shopping in March and September is just as good as car dealerships will have quotas to meet, making negotiation more possible.

Quiet periods

That being said, it is also a good idea to shop during the less popular sales times. At the end of each business quarter, there tends not to be many new cars launched and dealerships are often quite keen to shift the stock they have. So, in months like March, June, September, and December, you may find it easier to negotiate or find a better price on a vehicle.

Sneakily, you may even want to consider the time of week you visit a new car dealership. Since they are often busier on the weekends, visiting on a quiet mid-week day is a surefire way to bag yourself more time with one of their experts. Similarly, Fridays (especially at the end of the month) may see dealerships trying the last push to meet their sales quotas.

Model launches

However, the opposite also applies. Sometimes, it can be just as beneficial to you to shop during peak times. For example, visiting a dealership just as a new model has been launched is strategic since the older, outgoing model is now likely to be discounted.

Price aside, though, targeting outgoing models instead of newly-made ones does limit your customisation options since dealerships will no longer have a steady influx of varied stock.

Summer or winter?

Do the seasons have an impact on car sales? Is it better to buy a certain car during the warmer months?

It is safe to say that some types of cars lend themselves more naturally to certain types of year than others. Convertibles and sports cars, for example, are much more of a ‘summer vehicle’ than 4X4s and trucks. However, there also exists an ‘evergreen’ class of vehicles that sell steadily across the year — we’re thinking of vans and family cars, here.

To get ahead of the curve, then, and guarantee yourself the best price on a ‘seasonal’ vehicle, you need to think strategically and buy out of season.

Spring & summer

At the first sign of warm weather, you can be sure to see forecourts across the country filling up with convertibles and flighty sports cars. The late spring and summer months offer the perfect conditions for top-down cruising; so, during these months, convertible, soft-top sales will boom.

What does this mean for you? Winter shopping of course! To guarantee a bargain, you’ll want to shop for your dream convertible when the weather is cold and top-down driving is the last thing on everyone’s minds.

Winter & Christmas

When cold, wet, and icy conditions prompt high sales of 4x4s and off-roading vehicles, you should steer clear to save yourself a pretty penny. Instead, buy your larger, all-purpose vehicles in the summer and late spring.

As for seasonal discounts, though, buying a car during the festive period can also save you money. Due to the increased expenditure that comes with Christmas for most people, it is uncommon for many cars to be purchased in late December or for the new year. So, times like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and New Year sales are optimal.

If you have any questions about buying or servicing your new or used car, get in touch with the experts at your nearest Kwik Fit centre.




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