It’s hard not to notice when car dealers are pushing their holiday specials. They’re on every radio station, on the television, and there are balloons on every dealers’ lot with big signs that say, “SALE,” and “This offer ends soon!”
But are these holiday specials actually worth it?
The easy answer is no, these deals usually aren’t worth the hassle. Though every situation is different, by far and large, these deals are more often a gimmick to create a sense of urgency rather than offering anything of value beyond what a customer would get during other times of the year.
Although dealerships are, for the most part, stand up businesses, there is still a lot of smoke and mirrors in the auto industry. The internet is helping even the playing field but, until recently, it has been the dealerships and manufacturers who’ve been holding the upper hand. A prospective customer’s best chance has always been the ability to tell a dealership they were NOT buying today and, to some degree, that is still true today.
A customer has more information at their fingertips than ever before, and whether it’s the holiday specials, the improved interest rates on auto loans, or a specific combination of features that a customer desires, the internet is the customer’s best friend.
The most important thing a customer can do is their research. Finding out everything they can about the cars they’re interested in, what auto loans manufacturers are offering, and whether or not there are competitive deals nearby, all give a customer an advantage when shopping for cars.
As for those holiday deals? Unless you know the market inside and out, there’s a chance that the dealer is placing a lot of hype on something in order to convince you that buying today is in your best interest.
The best time to do business with any auto dealer is at the end of the month. If this happens to coincide with a holiday, all the better. When you take into account most dealers get bonuses for selling volume, this concept makes a lot of sense. If you can look at the dealership’s sales board, (e.g., usually a whiteboard showing how many cars they’ve sold that month) you’ll have a better understanding of where the dealership is in relation to its goals, and then you can leverage them for a better deal.
Pitting dealerships against one another is also another way to leverage your best deal; when the competition is stiff, you know you’re the one walking away having paid the least money possible.
So, whether it’s the best possible time to buy or not, a holiday special is one tool dealerships use to convince customers that “now” is the best time to buy, and the sensible shopper uses every resource available to leverage a better deal.
Whether it’s the special auto loans a dealer is offering or an incentivized sale price, you can bet that you’ll get your best deal by keeping a level head and remembering that you always have the ability to walk away from any deal offered.