Christie's Car Keys

 

Did you make some New Year's Resolutions?  Did one of them involve updating your vehicle?  Well believe it or not this one will be a lot easier than losing weight, getting in shape, or trying to quit a deeply ingrained bad habit.  Even though you may feel you missed the boat with the big year-end sales in December, you've still picked a good time of year to be thinking about making a change in your vehicle.  In fact, there's a cycle of sorts through the car-buying year and here's a quick reference "calendar" with some helpful hints.

  • January - The year end events have played out and so has a lot of inventory. However, this can work to your advantage. Since this time of year can bring a spiraling down of activity, dealers are ready to be aggressive on remaining inventory to keep sales numbers from falling. Keep in mind that the choice of inventory may not be at its peak, but most of the prior year models are gone so you're looking at fresh new models that dealers want to move. Go in prepared with your trade-in's value (see kbb.com) and a fair price for the new car (edmunds.com). You'll be checking off your first resolution in no time.

  • February - This is the dead of winter here in the South and it feels like it in the showroom. If you don't mind shoveling some snow off the car or braving some chilly temperatures you can get a good deal right now. Dealers are open to talking to anyone who is ready to buy and will want to help you with a great Valentine's gift.

  • March - Things are starting to rev up again as we go into the spring thaw. And just as we see renewal all around us, we'll see it in the dealerships. They're ready to dust off the frost and move some cars in hopes of getting a head start on the summer season.  Some factories have special fiscal year-end events this time of year and will roll out big incentive programs.

  • April - Going into the summer is a great time to buy. Temperatures are moderate so shopping is very pleasant. Keep your eyes open for great rebates and rates.

  •  May, June & July - This is peak season. Dealers are geared up and ready to kick off the buying season in May, and so are the factories.  The energy is contagious and you can take advantage of the momentum and incentives throughout the summer.

  • August, September, October - Time for model year end madness. Factories and dealers are clearing out last year's models to make room for the new ones. So you can get a great deal now on current models and an even better one if the new model is a major redesign.

  • November - As we roll into the holidays November can be a challenging month for car dealers. Which means a good time for car buyers. Factories have moved up the start dates on their big year-end sales to begin in early to mid-November now so take a break from the holidays and go get a great deal on your new car. You'll get ahead of the year-end crush and look quite stylish when you roll up for Thanksgiving dinner.

  • December - Possibly the biggest car month of the year - this is the best-known time for year-end closeouts and the end of tax incentives. Even though some people are distracted with holiday activities, most know that this is a great time to take advantage of huge factory year-end sales and incentives. Dealers are ready to move inventory and factories are piling on the incentives.

 Christie Walin is Director of Marketing for Modern Automotive. You can reach her with questions or comments at askchristie@modernauto.com.

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