Why now is a great time to shop for a new or used vehicle

October might be the most important month of the year for car shoppers.

Because it provides plenty of time to do your homework before heading out to dealerships between now and New Year’s Day.

The end of the year is the traditional season to shop for vehicle bargains, which may include incentives, with November and December offering more opportunities than usual. Dealers are motivated to meet monthly, quarterly and annual goals all at once. In other words, it can make or break their results for the year.

That’s why now is a great time to shop for a new or used vehicle.

Woman in car in snowy weather

But this year may be even better for shoppers for several reasons:

  1. It has been a disappointing year for new-car sales, which will dip to their lowest level in five years and may motivate dealers to go the extra mile to make sales.
  2. The inventory of recent-model-year used vehicles – especially cars – is higher than ever because of the off-lease volume flooding the market.
  3. For used-car shoppers, there has never been a wider gap between the average transaction prices of new cars ($37,000) versus used cars ($22,000).
  4. Dealers want to get this year’s remaining new-vehicle inventory off their lots to make room for the next model year.

Eight of the 10 best holidays of the year – including Halloween and New Year’s Day – fall during this period, while the months of November and December overall are far and away the two best months for deals, according a study by iSeeCars.com.


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“Between year-end promotions and dealers scrambling to take advantage of the last few months of the year to meet their sales quotas, the conventional wisdom of shopping for a car at the end of the year holds true,” said Phong Ly of iSeeCars.com.

The best times to buy a used vehicle over the three-month period fall during or around:

  • Month of October
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • Month of November
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving (Nov. 28)
  • Black Friday (Nov. 29)
  • Month of December
  • Christmas Eve (Dec. 24)
  • Christmas (Dec. 25)
  • New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31)
  • New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)

The website analyzed more than 48 million used car sales from a five-year span in search of those times – and holidays – when dealers were offering the most deals.

You don’t have to research that many cars, but doing your homework will enable you to make the most of the end-of-year car-shopping experience.

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