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How to Get the Best Deal on Your End-of-the-Year New Car Purchase

by Brian Wong (Dec 22, 2011)

The end-of-the-year is a time for family and holidays, but it's also time for something else; getting a great deal on a new car.

It might lack the romanticism of meeting under mistletoe but if you're in the market for a new car there is arguably no better time to buy than at the end-of-the-year for several reasons. First, dealerships will be trying to get inventory from the previous year off of their lots to make room for the next year's models. Second, this is also traditionally a time of the year that manufacturers will offer larger discounts/rebates and better financing offers. Lastly, the end of the month is usually the best time to buy because dealers and salesmen will be trying to fill quotas; this is not only the end of the month, but the end of the calendar year as well.

All of these factors combine into a "perfect storm" that means savings for you. Here are a few tips for getting the best price on your end-of-the-year new car purchase:

  • Look to the past
    At the end of the year, dealers will be working extra hard to make room for next year's cars. So right now at the end-of-the-year, there are a lot of 2012 model year cars arriving at showrooms which makes it a prime time to get a great deal on a 2011.
  • Stay up-to-date on Rebates/Incentives
    Many manufacturers will offer better financing rates and larger rebates (cash back) on new cars bought during this period. Check out our Rebate Center for the latest offers from all of the manufacturers and see where you can save even more money.
  • Check inventory
    An overlooked way to get a great deal on your new car is to find a dealership that has plenty of the model you want in stock. This is especially true at the end of the year, when dealers are looking to clear inventory and space. For example, if dealer A has three cars in the model/year that you want, but dealer B has ten of them, you're most likely going to get a better deal at dealer B since they have more inventory. has a very useful tool for this, called New Car Locator, which will display the inventory of a particular car at dealerships in your area.
  • Don't leave money on the table
    It's a good time to brush up on your negotiating skills. For a quick refresher, we offer an extensive How-To section with articles and videos that cover all the parts of the car buying process, so pop over there to make sure you have all the steps down pat.
  • Pick a car that's been redesigned for the new model year
    When a car gets redesigned, dealers are usually quick to sell the newest version at a markup. But they are just as quick to offer discounts of the previous version to get rid of them. A prime example of this is the 2012 Honda CR-V, which was released in December 2011. So if you're in the market for a compact crossover, you can probably get a 2011 CR-V at a sharply reduced price.

If you keep these things in mind, you have a great chance at getting plenty of savings on a new car and closing out the year in style.

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  • Car Chooser: This interactive tool lets you compare up to four new cars at a time.
  • Rebate Center: Find the latest rebates and incentives on any car you want.
  • Car Buying Guide: A fun and informative step-by-step guide to buying a new car.