Car Buying

Buying a Car: Is a Deal Really Available "Today Only"?

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Doug DeMuro April 2014

If you're interested in buying a car, you may have dealt with a salesperson who told you that a certain price or a special deal was available "today only." So is it true? If you came back tomorrow, would the dealership really not give you the same deal as they would if you bought the car today? We have the answer.

Why Today Only?

Before we get into the accuracy of the "today only" statement, it's important to understand why dealerships make these kinds of high-pressure offers. One reason is that they don't want you to take a long time to make your decision, since you may ultimately talk yourself out of it. If you sign the papers "today only," the deal is done and you won't be able to back out after you spend more time thinking about it.

While that's a classic sales technique, there are other reasons for the "today only" tactic, and they're not as high-pressure or forceful as you might think. One relates to manufacturer incentives, while the other has to do with dealership sales targets. We'll look at both.

Manufacturer Incentives

One reason a salesperson might tell you that a particular deal is available "today only" is that an automaker's incentive expires on that particular day. If that's true, it's a perfectly logical reason to suggest that a shopper should sign the papers today rather than wait until later.

In this case, an incentive is a special deal -- usually a cash-back offer, a low lease payment or a better-than-average interest rate -- provided by an automaker to help persuade shoppers to buy a certain vehicle. But incentives aren't offered for months at a time. They're usually only good for one month, and dealers rarely know if the same offer will be available the following month. As a result, a salesperson who knows that manufacturer incentives are about to expire might advise a customer to act now in order to take advantage of a good deal.

Last Day of the Month?

Like any business, car dealerships have to meet certain quotas and goals, meaning they'll be more willing to offer excellent deals when it might help them hit a certain target. For instance, say you visit a car dealership in May and the dealer is trying to sell 50 new cars that month. If you walk in on May 31 and the dealer has sold 49 new cars that month, then they might be willing to offer you a great deal in order to reach their number.

If you walk in on June 1, however, when the dealer is no longer under as much pressure to reach a sales goal, they might not be so willing to offer such a great deal. In that case, it's likely that the dealer was being honest about the deal being good for one day only. Of course, you might have to take the dealership's word for it, since it's hard to know what their goals and targets are.

When It's Not Today Only

While expiring manufacturer incentives and month-end sales targets are certainly good reasons why a deal might be "today only," it's also possible that a dealer is just telling you that to get you to sign the papers. Our suggestion: No matter the reason, don't feel pressured when buying a car. Yes, you may get a better deal today, but you'll have to live with this purchase for a long time. As a result, you'll want to be sure that you've taken as much time as possible to make the right choice, even if it means losing out on a few dollars per month.

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: Is a Deal Really Available "Today Only"? - Autotrader