The best time to buy a car generally tends to be the fall and winter months. Manufacturers, automotive dealerships and sales agents have monthly, quarterly and yearly quotas. With the last quarter of the year, it’s the last time to make those final pushes in order to make those year-end sales quotas. This is the time when the greatest sale prices and dealership incentives will be offered in order to meet those quotas and sales targets.


October is the beginning of the fourth quarter, which is the last quarter of which to calculate yearly sales. This last quarter is when there will be the greatest push by manufacturers, dealerships and sales agents.  New vehicle models generally start being produced in July and August of the prior calendar year. For example, a 2018 year model will begin being manufactured in the summer of 2017. The new models start arriving at the dealerships in September and October. During this time, the new year model cars are distributed with lesser numbers to the dealerships while orders are taken.

If orders are being taken, you are likely going to have to pay full sticker price for the car as demand is more than the currently available supply, but this means that the current year model will likely be on sale. This early receipt of the next model year gives dealerships time to sell their current inventory and to make sure that each geographical area can see, in person, what the new year model looks like. This time of year is when dealerships start to change their showrooms and are likely starting to markdown the same year models to make room for more of the new year model inventory. The extent of the price markdown will depend on whether a car is being discontinued, is overstocked by a particular dealership, or has been completely overhauled for the new year’s model. You will see the greatest sales and discounts on vehicles that have been entirely overhauled for the new year model.

The greatest savings to be found are only vehicles that are on that dealership’s lot. If you want a specific color or feature that is not on the lot you are at, you can search other dealership lots by calling or finding a manufacturer certified dealership who can access the entire region’s database. Just remember that they do not profit in assisting you to do that, so you may be left to search on your own.

If the vehicle you are looking to buy didn’t change significantly for the new model year you may not receive large discounts but you may be able to negotiate free or cheaper dealership additions and accessories such as window tinting and undercoating.


The holiday season often produces great sales and discounts on vehicles so that manufacturers and dealerships can meet their quotas and sell off the outgoing model year. This can also be a time for greater incentives to lease or finance a luxury brand vehicle which are often marketed as gifts.

The week after Christmas

The prices are likely to be the same as advertised for the month of December, but there are likely more dealership incentives offered. These incentives can include lower financing costs, higher trade-in valuations, free or low-cost window tinting, free oil changes, and maintenance packages.  These sales can extend into January which tends to be a slow sales month in all industries.

Holiday weekends

Black Friday, Labor Day and Memorial Day are the three best holiday weekends for vehicle sales. The promotions usually start the week prior to the holiday.

When the New Year Model is released

Though the general rule is that the new year model begins being produced late summer and will be available by October on dealership lots, this is not true of all models and manufacturers. If you are in the market for a particular vehicle it is best to keep an eye on the actual production schedule for that vehicle. That will assist you in determining the best time to purchase.

Best day of the week to buy a car

Early in the week near the end of the month is a good time to get a great deal on a vehicle. Salespeople are looking to reach their end of month quotas so they are more motivated to get the sale finalized. The days for the greatest savings, in order, are Monday, Sunday, Thursday and Wednesday.

Best time by type of vehicle

All of the above are generalizations about vehicle sales in general. If you are looking for a specific vehicle, there are different times that may be best. The best time to purchase a midsized SUV is May, once the winter is over and the demand is lower. If you are in the market for a large truck, October tends to be the best time. Midsize and compact cars can best be purchased in November when the highest demand is for SUVs. While small and premium SUVs buck these trends by being best purchased in December when the demand for them tends to be at the highest.

Remember that when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle the best deal can be obtained by having researched the car you want to buy, knowing the average price, price of the incentives you may want to be looking for and knowing what you can realistically afford. Knowing the dealership and the types of services they offer can also help in determining what kind of dealer incentives you may be able to request in lieu of greater price discounts.