If you’re planning on buying a car over the next month, the best day to buy—the day you’ll receive the biggest discount on the selling price—is April 30, 2011. By the way, the worst day is May 9. This information is from TrueCar.com, which provides new-car pricing for consumers around the country.
TrueCar has been crunching numbers by combining historical sales figures with short-term projections. They have come up with the last day of the month as the time when consumers can expect to receive an average discount on price of 7.78 percent. This compares with the worst day—May 9—when price discounts will average 5.29 percent.
When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer, one of the standard questions friends put to me was when the best time to buy a new or used car was. The last day of the month was always a good bet, as dealers are trying to boost sales figures. So was anytime around Christmas or New Year.
It turns out that TrueCar’s projection as the best time to buy this month falls on a Saturday—the busiest car buying day of the week. Some advice: don’t walk into a dealership “cold” looking for a car on Saturday, April 30. Plan ahead. Get your comparison shopping out of the way the week before. Shop around for the best price days in advance so you don’t leave “getting a good deal” to chance.
Expect car dealers to be extremely busy on April 30. Get there early or expect to be sitting and waiting to complete the deal. Each dealership will have every available sales staff on duty, but they have a limited number of finance managers who have to complete the paperwork. It’s not unusual on busy days to have customers stacked up waiting to see the finance manager before they can drive home in their new car.
On a practical note: eat before you go and don’t be shy about taking some extra food: snack bars and fruit in case you get delayed. Also remember that the selling price is just one area that needs to be negotiated. Do your homework on your trade’s value; get pre-approved on your car loan so you know in advance the interest rate you qualify for. Oh, and by the way: good luck.