Car Buying

Buying a Car: Are End-of-the-Year Offers Good Deals?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2014

You've probably heard that the end of the year is the best time to buy a car. With everyone spending their money on holiday gifts, conventional wisdom says that most people aren't interested in buying a car. You've also probably seen all the advertisements for end-of-the-year deals and the holiday offers that tout the best deals of the year. Is the end of the year really the best time to buy a car? And are these holiday offers really better deals than usual? We explain it all below.

End of the Year: Best Time to Buy?

In general, all of the hype is true: The end of the year really is the best time to buy a car.

One reason is the time of year itself: In most areas across the U.S., cold temperatures stop buyers from venturing out in search of a car or coming into the showroom. Also, many would-be car shoppers really are spending their money on holiday presents instead of cars.

There are other reasons why the end of the year is the best time to buy. One is that automakers tend to be selling out of the current model year, and they're often ready to make good deals in order to move outgoing models out of the showrooms. For example, dealers and car companies don't want to have 2014 models available in 2015, and that means they're willing to make good deals on remaining 2014 models in order to clear them out of inventory.

Another reason that the end of the year is a great time to buy? Most automakers are eager to hit sales goals, and with only a few more weeks left in the year, they'll start making better deals and offering stronger incentives to reach their targets.

What About Special Holiday Offers?

Around this time of year, you'll see advertisements for cars or other products that tout special holiday offers virtually every time you turn on your television. Are these holiday offers really special?

In many cases, the answer is yes, for many of the same reasons we've listed above. Many times, these offers are better than usual because automakers are trying to clear out the last cars from an outgoing model year. That means these deals weren't available last month, when the cars were easier to sell -- and they might not be available next month, either. As a result, December holiday deals are often the best offers you'll get, assuming you're fine with an outgoing model year.

Many times, holiday season offers also top regular deals because automakers add extra incentives to meet sale goals and targets. Once it's a new year, these targets are gone -- and that means offers aren't as strong.

Should You Buy?

If your money isn't tied up with holiday gifts, if a little snow or cold weather doesn't scare you and if you're comfortable with an outgoing model year vehicle, we strongly suggest buying a car at the end of the year. It's definitely the best time to sign the papers on your next car or truck.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Car: Are End-of-the-Year Offers Good Deals? - Autotrader