For A Deeper Vehicle Discount, Go When The Dealer Needs You

May 17, 2011

Savvy car shoppers have traditionally chosen times to buy when they thought car dealers were under the most pressure to make sales: the end of the month or year-end. Both are good bets at most dealerships.  

Now there is added support for that strategy. has crunched the numbers and determined that over the next thirty-one days, Saturday, May 28 is the best day for consumers to buy a car. TrueCar provides new car pricing for consumers. They analyzed historical sales data and did some short-term forecasting to determine that consumers can expect to negotiate a better price with deeper discounts on May 28 compared to any other day over the next month.

How big of a discount can car buyers expect? TrueCar is forecasting average discounts off the sticker price of 8.12 percent on May 28th. If the car, truck, or SUV you’re hoping to purchase has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,000, an 8.12 percent discount translates into a saving of $1,624.

Let’s compare this to the worst day to buy a car over the next thirty-one days: Monday, June 13. TrueCar is forecasting that consumers will achieve a price discount of less than six percent off MSRP on this date. Using our $20,000 example, the difference in what a consumer can save between the best and worst days to buy a car is about $250.

Industry average

Should you delay buying a car so you can leverage TrueCar’s forecast to your advantage? The short answer is it depends on your circumstances. Many people have to buy “now” because they need a car now. Waiting is often not an option.

Remember that TrueCar’s forecast is an industry average. There are many factors that affect how much a dealer is willing to discount the price of a vehicle. For example, with the high price of gas and limited supply of some Honda and Toyota vehicles following the May 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, it may be difficult to get any discount on some fuel-efficient Honda and Toyota models that are in short supply.

On the other hand, larger, gas-guzzling SUVs are being heavily discounted by some dealers who simply want to “move metal” and aren’t looking to make much, if any profit on these slower selling vehicles.

Do your homework

It’s good to know which day is the best day to buy a car, but that information shouldn’t take the place of doing your homework on price. For example, never walk into a dealership “cold” without knowing your “target” price in advance.

And remember that Saturdays are the busiest car shopping day of the week. Expect all car dealerships to be busy. Plan ahead. Get to the dealership early so you’re not waiting in line to get into the business office to complete the paperwork on the sale. Take some extra food in case things get delayed. And allow extra time; don’t book a dinner reservation a few hours after you plan to walk into a dealership to buy a car.

Buying a car can be a frustrating, time-consuming process. The more details you line-up in advance with your salesperson, the less stress for all concerned.  

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