It’s all about timing
Most people probably know that every March and September is ‘new reg’ time. Predictably, these are big sales times for dealers, who want to make the most of people who just have to have their brand new car with their brand new reg plate sitting on the drive on day one.
But if you’re not so fussed, February and August are good times to buy. Sales are often slow as buyers wait for the new number plates to come along, so there is likely to be a deal to be had. Worth bearing in mind, though, as silly as it seems, that having an ‘old’ plate on your car, even if you buy it on, for example, August 31, could mean faster depreciation.
There are other times of year to watch out for as well. At the end of each quarter, especially the end of June and December, dealers are looking to hit their quarterly sales targets and you could play that to your advantage.
Keep an eye out for new model releases
If you’re not overly fussed about having the latest version of a model, keep an eye out for the release dates of new or ‘facelifted’ cars and do a deal on the outgoing one a few weeks before it leaves the showroom to make way for the new model. Dealers will want to get rid of old stock and are more likely to offer you a tempting deal. Again, though, think about the fact that the outgoing version will depreciate more quickly than the updated car, even if it’s basically the same age.
If you do want the new model, wait a few months after its launch before going for it. That gives time for the new car buzz to die down and for a better deal to be on the table.
Don’t visit at weekends OK, this isn’t always easy if you work during the week, but showrooms are predictably busier on a weekend. So go during the week if you can, ideally a Friday. The reason? Again, it’s the targets salespeople have to meet. Dealers will be keen to meet their weekly targets, so a Friday visit could yield a good deal for the buyer – you can even actively use it as a bargaining tool.
There are good and bad times of year to buy certain cars
Looking for that top-down motor for the summer sun? Buy it in the winter. Demand for convertibles will be lower during the cold months, so there could well be bargains on offer. Likewise, demand for SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles tends to peak during the autumn and winter months because of bad weather, so you might get a better deal on one if you buy in the summer.
Do your homework and you should never have to pay full ‘book price’ for a new car. There are always ways to get yourself a deal and salespeople always have room to manoeuvre.