With the mercury climbing over 100 degrees up and down the east coast, you sure envy your neighbor's convertible right now, don't you? Putting the top down and letting the wind cool you is one of the great joys of car ownership, but right now, you shouldn't be considering a new Miata.
No, this is the time to shop with last winter's record snowfalls on your mind.
The automotive market moves through cycles. There are a few hard-and-fast rules about when to buy a new car that virtually always apply, but the weather influences car sales -- and some vehicles are actually at their cheapest in the summer months.
The old formula -- shop at the end of the year, the end of the month and the end of the week -- still applies. There are solid reasons for each rule. The holiday season always sees the cheapest average prices on most vehicles. Dealerships often receive bonuses for meeting monthly quotas and may be more motivated to make a sale to meet quota at the end of the month. And the best prices are typically found on Saturdays, when dealers know you're likely to buy that day and don't want to let you out the door to visit the competition.
But seasonal cycles make some vehicles that are perfect for snowy weather cheapest in the middle of summer when it's too hot to breathe. A few great bargains at the moment:
2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep ads featuring the 2011 Grand Cherokee, highlighting its American roots, are in heavy rotation now. But Jeep dealers still have a few thousand 2010 models left to sell. One of the best family SUVs off the road, the Grand Cherokee is probably at its cheapest point for the year right now.
2010 Subaru ForesterEnlarge Photo
2010 Subaru Forester
Subaru has been having a banner year, thanks to strong redesigns of much of its core lineup. But if you're a dedicated Subie fan looking to buy, this is the best time. Our pricing partners at TrueCar.com tell us that Subaru dealers are being most flexible on the Forester this summer -- thanks to more recent updates given to the Outback and Legacy, it's actually one of the older models on their lot right now, even though it was brand new last year. And Subaru's winter performance is legendary.
2010 Suzuki KizashiEnlarge Photo
2010 Suzuki Kizashi
Auto reviewers are a little frustrated by the Suzuki Kizashi. It's a brilliantly-executed car that, because it's a Suzuki, no one has ever heard of. It deserves a higher profile than it has. It's fun to drive, punches above its weight class with a near-luxury cabin, and is available with an impressive all-wheel-drive system. But it's offered by a manufacturer with a tiny dealership network and a tiny advertising budget, so many buyers who would love it will never even know they should consider it. TrueCar.com tells us Suzuki dealers are very flexible on the price of AWD Kizashis right now -- and the thing starts under $20k.
2010 Dodge JourneyEnlarge Photo
2010 Dodge Journey
With car-like handling and flexible interior storage, the Dodge Journey is as livable as a minivan. But All-Wheel-Drive and a low center-of-gravity that make it great in the snow. It's also cheap in the heat -- Truecar.com has it flagged as a "Potential Deal" this summer, with the average Journey selling more than 11 percent below sticker and dealers willing to flex on price.
Side Exterior View - 2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 5.7L V8 6-Spd AT Grade (Natl)Enlarge Photo
2010 Toyota Tundra
American-made trucks are battling it out for the title of best-selling full-size pickup. Meanwhile, Toyota's big truck is sitting unsold on dealership lots. Toyota dealers are flexing heavily on price, and Toyota's corporate office is offering unusually heavy discounts on Tunrdas in many parts of the country. If you need a hard working truck, July might be a great time to throw a low offer at your local Toyota dealership and see what happens.
Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Lincoln MKX AWD 4-doorEnlarge Photo
2010 Lincoln MKX
What's a luxury SUV doing on a bargain list? Sitting unsold. The MKX has never been a top-seller for Lincoln, but it's always been a good, under-appreciated SUV. With a new, 2011 model on the way, it's not selling well, so Lincoln dealers are listening to low offers. The average MKX has sold for almost 17 percent below sticker this month -- a truly impressive mid-summer discount.