General Motors Cadillac DealershipEnlarge Photo
- Toward the end of the month is usually better. Many dealerships still have monthly sales bonuses and other targets to meet, so the general trend is that there are better deals on offer late in the month.
- Major holiday weekends are windows of opportunity. Dealerships will often spend more money on advertising and have special sales drives on holiday weekends (not religious holidays though), considering the extra shopping day to offer a better return on their investment. The hope is that shoppers will make their follow-up purchase visit the same weekend they took their test-drive. And mood is a part of it: "Shoppers tend to be in a better mood, and that makes more sales," said Toprak. Presidents' Day recently was a good one; Memorial Day will be the next.
- Monday mornings are a good time to shop. Toprak said that if he were shopping, he'd probably go on a Monday (or weekday) morning, not a weekend. "Salespeople will want to get the week started on a good note," he said. And if you're the only one in the showroom, that's VIP treatment, right?
- Saturdays are a wild card. Sometimes shoppers get a better deal on Saturdays, other times not. Dealerships tend to be crowded with shoppers on Saturdays, so it's easy for a salesperson to just let you go if you try to lowball them. On the other hand, no matter how crowded it is, some dealerships will reward Saturday sales, such as a bonus for selling three cars on Saturday, so if you get the right person at the end of a Saturday afternoon, who knows?
- May flowers with good deals. Among months, May might be one of the best to get a good deal, as dealer stock is typically strong and traditionally automakers have considered the month to be a make-or-break time for sales.
Of course, if you're well armed with information before you head to the dealership—in the way of customized TrueCar market pricing, which is available at TheCarConnection.com—the day shouldn't matter, Toprak points out.