by Sean Tucker
Late summer is an excellent time to buy a car, if you're willing to do your research, and this summer is better than most. By this time of year, virtually all car factories are pushing out 2011 models, but many of the outgoing 2010s are sitting unsold.
Dealerships were battered by a terrible August. Sales were much slower than analysts had expected. Showrooms have too many leftover 2010 models. It's a familiar problem in the auto industry, yet one no one expected to be facing again so soon.
When the recession hit, dealers spent most of a year trying to clear a backlog of unsold 2009 models, and automakers scaled back their expectations and their operations to produce fewer new cars for the 2010 model year. For a while, it seemed to have worked, and supply appeared close to matching demand. But with sales slowing yet again, the bottleneck is starting to reform. TrueCar.com estimates that 82.7 percent of the cars sitting in showrooms this month are 2010 models -- even now, well into the 2011 model year.
Those 2010s, though, are not out-of-date cars you should avoid. They're appealing new cars, made cheaper by their abundance. Here are five you might want to consider now, while they're overstocked and selling slowly.
2010 Hyundai SonataEnlarge Photo
The all-new 2011 Sonata is grabbing all the headlines with its curvaceous, dynamic look, upscale interior and low price. But it's overshadowing the thousands of 2010 models Hyundai still needs to sell. The 2010 Sonata is a reliable car, and an excellent all-around performer with one of the better warranties in the business. Yet TrueCar.com estimates that the average 2010 Sonata is sitting unsold now for 216 days -- making it the slowest-selling vehicle on the market. It should be easy to negotiate with a Hyundai dealer desperate for you to buy his 2010 Sonata so that he can replace it with the new model.