End of Summer Sales Incentives for Car Buyers

Labor Day Car Sales

The end of summer is a prime time for bargain hunters who are searching for the best deal on a new car. Many of next year’s models are beginning to appear on dealer lots, while there is still an abundant inventory of current year models on hand. This is good news for car buyers because dealers are more willing to work out a deal on 2015 model year cars to make room for the incoming 2016 models.

This time of year car manufacturers ramp up incentives, such as cash back deals or low interest financing, to get people into new cars. Here is a chart from Edmunds showing the sell-down rate for the current model year using sales data from last year.

average discount from manufacturer's suggested retail price
Source: Edmunds.com

Below is a graph showing how current-model savings compare with next year model cars. Discounts begin to emerge in August and continue rising to year end. While heavier discounts may appear as the year closes, finding the preferred model, trim, and color becomes more difficult as inventories shrink.

percentage of current-model year cars sold
Source: Edmunds.com

Tips for Car Buyers

Right now is the best time to be bargain shopping for a car in terms of price, manufacturer incentives, and availability. Here are some guidelines that can help with finding the best deal on a car.

Be Flexible
This is a competitive market and there are lots of choices within all car segments. Having a few choices keeps you open to other deals if the right price or specific car isn’t available. Prospective buyers are likely to find big price cuts on cars about to get a redesign or discontinued.

Time Your Visit
Thinking of visiting a dealership late in the day, or on a rainy day, to get the best bargain isn’t the best strategy. Many salespeople will work past their regular hours to close a deal and the rainy day theory can actually benefit the dealership since many people are convinced it can work. But, there are advantages to buying a car around Labor Day. According to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelly Blue Book (KBB), savvy buyers would do well to wait until the day after the holiday and show up at the dealership midday to get a good shot at a good deal.

The holiday is fast approaching and can be a good time for car buyers. Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader says, “In fact, Labor Day is a holiday on steroids in terms of promotion because it comes at the time of year when automakers and dealers are eager to clear out the past year’s inventory to make way for the new models.” GoBankingRates compiled a list of the best Labor Day car sales and deals for 2015 models to help you save money purchasing a new car this year. The biggest deals seem to be with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. If your sights are set on something not on the list, Edmunds keeps current with all manufacturer incentives if you are willing to do some clicking.

Do Your Homework
After narrowing down which car(s) you want, pouring through countless articles, reviews, reliability studies and chatter on the forums, shopping online for competitive quotes is super easy. Get at least three quotes for the car that interests you. Don’t be afraid to shop out of the area. Sometimes better discounts are available at dealerships in the outlying areas that are hungry for sales.