Tips for Year End Car Buying

shutterstock_130321391Most consumers are under the impression that by waiting until the last few months of the year, they will be able to negotiate the most competitive price on their new vehicle purchase.  While this may have been true decades ago, it is the exception rather than common practice in today’s marketplace.  Why?

The main reason is that most manufacturers do not wait until October to launch new products.  Today, they are introducing new products year round to drive consumers into their dealerships to shop.  Historically, the auto manufacturers introduced their new vehicle lineups in October and huge rebates and incentives were introduced at that time to move the old inventory.  Consumers, who were patient and willing to drive the previous year’s model, knew that they could wait and negotiate a lower price than at any other time of the year.

Further, with product introductions year round, year-end rebates are typically uncommon, but do come into play when manufacturers are trying to be the market leader in a particular vehicle segment.  For instance, if the sales volume race between BMW and Mercedes is running close in November, December might bring retail incentives, usually in the form of a very competitive lease program, to help drive business so that one of them can proudly advertise “First Place” in a particular product segment.  While this claim is typically unimportant to the consumer, the benefit might be a low monthly payment not otherwise available during the rest of the year.

For most consumers, however, shopping at year end should not be any different than shopping during any other time of the year.  Here are 5 Quick Tips to keep in mind as you begin the process:

  • Always start with a loan preapproval from your credit union.  Knowing how much you are approved for, and being comfortable with your monthly payment, is critical to know BEFORE you go car buying.  Remember, he who controls the financing controls the transaction.
  • Use the resources you have at your fingertips. The Internet is an informative place to begin your research.  There are many sites that will allow you to view pictures of new models and numerous owner forums that will let you know about product and service issues that you wouldn’t normally encounter before purchase.  You can be in the know with very little effort.
  • Buy a car magazine a month or two before you purchase to understand the state of the auto industry. If you read about a truck segment battle going on, watch for an increase in rebates and/or other retail incentives.  Waiting a week or two to purchase may save you some money!
  • Always test drive the vehicle BEFORE you purchase. Many consumers think they want a particular vehicle because of the styling, but driving it is the ONLY way to confirm that it FITS YOU.  We do not recommend buying a vehicle sight unseen.  Feel it, touch it, see it and drive it!
  • Finally, if a professional and reputable car buying service is available to you, take advantage of it! Our credit union partners with Auto Advisors and they have assisted over 70,000 credit union members in Florida and Georgia with the purchase of a new or used vehicle.  This service is a no cost member benefit of our credit union and we highly recommend you take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.  You can reach them at 800.929.8971 or

About BrightStar Credit Union

BrightStar Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative based in South Florida. If you live, work or go to school in Broward or Palm Beach counties, you can join!

Posted on 10/17/2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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