Five Reasons December Is the Best Time to Buy a Car

Five Reasons December Is the Best Time to Buy a Car

December is here and so are the biggest car deals of the year. For car buyers, December has the year's highest discounts and best incentives, according to the automotive experts at Edmunds. Between dealerships hustling to achieve quotas for the end of the year, and consumers looking to find a luxury vehicle at a lower rate, December is the best month to find a good deal on a car.

Like with any major purchase, preparation is important in car-buying. It's easy to want the car of your dreams during the warm temperatures of summer and early fall, but that may be the least ideal time to buy. Instead, it's a smarter move to utilize the earlier months of the year to do your homework and then, when the time is right between Black Friday and New Year's Eve, find the best deal for you.

New models. September, October, November and December are the months that manufacturers are typically trying to make room for new models on dealer lots, according to Auto Cheat Sheet, a car-buying guide and expert source on the retail car business. Especially in September, many automakers launch the upcoming year's new models, which drop the value of the current year's models substantially. Come December, prices will hit a low for the year. For a buyer, these factors work in your favor to save money. For car manufacturers, a lot is riding on the line to make quota. Car dealers make the most money on the newest vehicles. The longer a car remains unsold on the lot, the more buyers can expect big savings off the sticker price.

Holiday shopping. When the holidays come around, planning your annual shopping list is on top of the to-do list, and buying a new car might be the last thought on your mind. However, during the holiday shopping season, cars continuously lower in price as dealerships monitor retailer sales in order to compete for shoppers' dollars. Dealerships have since joined in Black Friday deals and continually lower prices into December.

Holiday bonuses. The hard work you put in all year may come with a generous holiday bonus. This year, 63 percent of U.S. human resources professionals or hiring managers say their company plans to give employees a monetary end-of-year bonus, according to a 2017 survey by Accounting Principals. The combination of a holiday bonus and more reasonable prices on cars means December may be the best time all year to reap the benefits of a boosted income and a great deal.

Smooth commuting. There might be a sense of worry about whether your older vehicle can make it through another tough winter. Year after year, you may be concerned about the money you spend on the same repairs caused by wear and tear and stress about your lack of reliable transportation. As the threat of snow and freezing rain in many areas starts lurking in December, that's yet another reason to lock down a safe and reliable car.

Better decision-making (and leverage). When traffic at dealerships slows down in the colder winter months, salespeople can usually take more time to explain in depth about a car you are interested in, show you similar models, review features, safety concerns and more. You will also have leverage you might not have had during earlier, busier months alongside eager car buyers. Use the empty dealership to your advantage and ask every question on your mind, and don't be afraid to haggle.

If you had a new car on your wish list for 2017, it's not too late to make your dreams come true. In fact, waiting until now might really pay off. If it's not in this year's budget, don't rush the decision. Instead, start planning for a trip to the dealership this time next year.

Article published December 7, 2017, by U.S. News & World Report (money.usnews.com)