Feature article

What’s the best time of year to buy from a car dealer?

Buying a car is expensive, so you want the best deal possible. Let's look at the best time of year to buy from a dealer.

More and more Kiwis are being shrewd when car buying. Purchasing a vehicle is a large financial commitment, so it makes sense to try and get the best deal possible. With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most common car buyer queries: what’s the best time of year to buy a car from a dealer?

Circle your calendar

If you want to be super tactical in your approach to securing a good deal, you should look to focus on times of the year when salespeople are most desperate to secure a sale. Remember, they have quotas to meet and the closer they get to these deadlines, the stronger your negotiating hand will be.

In the financial year, a salesperson will have monthly, quarterly and annual targets to hit. If you buy during the last week of these financial quarters, you have a good chance of a great deal. And if you target the last day of the quarter, you have an excellent chance of a great deal. The potential car deal hotspots for 2020 are:

  • March 31st (end of Q1)
  • June 30th (end of Q2)
  • September 30th (end of Q3)
  • December 31st (end of Q4)

The end of December sees a salesperson looking to achieve the double whammy of hitting quarterly and annual sales targets, making the last week of Dec the best time of year to buy a car in NZ. Do you know anyone who bought their car on New Years Eve? Nope, we don’t either, but the above criteria makes this the best day of the year to buy from a car dealership.

Carpe diem

Now you know the best months, what about the best day of the week for a deal? The first thing to note is that, for understandable reasons, most people go car shopping on the weekend. The salesperson’s eyes are alight with numerous sales opportunities – meaning their appetite for reductions is decreased. In particular, Sunday is the busiest day for car sales in NZ.

Instead of joining the weekend hordes, how about taking Monday afternoon off work and cruising up to the dealership for a browse? Chances are, you’ll be greeted by a far hungrier, deal-friendly, salesperson than 24hrs earlier. Top tip: use the Trade Me dealer directory to find dealerships in your area.

Put down the frisbee and tongs

While we can understand you wanting to spend Waitangi Day at the beach and Anzac Day at a BBQ, if you can tear yourself away from those delights for a few hours, public holidays can be an excellent time to secure a good deal from a dealership. Holiday promotionals aren’t just a gimmick and there are often great savings to be had.

Winter is coming

Midyear can be a bit of a gloomy time for Kiwis – summer is an increasingly distant memory, the festive holidays are a long way off, and there’s enough rainfall to dock a boat and cast your rod in the front yard.

But this time of the year does bring good news for a car buyer as it’s when new models tend to be launched, leading to substantial reductions on the outgoing cars. If you’re not fussed about having the shiniest, latest production model, now is the time to strike!

Black Friday – yay or nay?

Love it or hate it, Black Friday is the world’s most infamous shopping day. This year it falls on Friday November 27th, but increasingly Black Friday is taking over the whole month of November with early deals, pre-sales and other opportunities to make a saving. Try to avoid the usual Black Friday gimmicks and do your research to ensure the deal you’re getting is as good as it appears.

Whatever the deal, think long-term

Regardless of how dazzling the deal on offer, a car should never be a knee-jerk purchase. It’s a long-term investment and you should treat the car buying process with the respect it deserves. Don’t forget, irrespective of if you buy new or used, the value of your car is only going to go in one direction – south. As such, you want to choose something that’ll last you for 5 years, not 5 months.

Have a clear, predetermined budget in mind for your purchase and don’t be swayed into straying too far over this, or you could end up with some severe buyers remorse further down the line. A good deal is only a good deal if it’s within your financial limitations.

You’ve gotta be in it to win it

Ultimately, the best time of year to buy a car is whenever you’re ready! If you need the car, have done your research and have the finances in place to buy the vehicle, there’s really not a bad time of year to get it done. If you limit yourself too much with set dates, you could miss out on a fantastic deal and the car of your dreams. The power lies with you, and you can ensure the timing is right – whatever the date.