End of Year Shapes Up to be Prime Car-Buying Time
If the spirit of giving - or of treating yourself - has inspired you to buy a car this holiday season, you’re in luck. Many local auto dealerships are overflowing with sedans, trucks and SUVs, so there are deals to be had.
Most dealers have abundant supplies of 2013 models, and 2014s are arriving as automakers keep factories humming. Since dealers pay interest on money borrowed to buy the cars, they’re probably anxious to sell them soon.
"We have a lot of inventory right now," said Tammy Darvish, vice president of a 21-dealer group in the Washington, D.C., metro area that sells Toyota, Ford, Kia, Chrysler, Volkswagen and other makes.
The December holiday season normally is a good time to buy as dealers clear out old models and sales people feel pressure to meet year-end targets. Some sales ran early this year as automakers tried to get a piece of the Black Friday retail holiday.
Normally you can get 5 to 6 percent off the sticker price when dealing, but that could rise to 8 or 10 percent this month, said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. That means, for instance, you can get roughly $1,880 to $2,351 off a 2014 Chevy Malibu 1LT with a sticker price of $23,510.
Consumers have been in the spirit of buying cars for the past three years. U.S. sales are expected to reach 15.6 million this year, compared to just 10.4 million in 2009. And the latest retail sales figures from the government show that steady hiring and rising household wealth are encouraging more big-ticket purchases.
CARS TO LOOK AT
The bargains, dealers say, depend a lot on what car, SUV or truck you want to buy. The best deals now are in the small and midsize car segments.
Toyota, for instance, is offering $1,750 cash back on the midsize Camry in the Washington area, and competitors are following, Darvish said. That’s before trying to make a deal. "I’m seeing some incentives that I have not seen as high as they are," Darvish said.
Ford dealers nationwide have about a 90-day supply of Fusion midsize cars, while other manufacturers’ dealers have 75-80 days of midsize car inventory, Gutierrez said.