Buying A Car In Winter: When Is It A Good Idea?

Winter in colder climates typically means less foot traffic and more pressure to meet sales quotas. And since dealers typically get the next model year at the end of summer, many are eager to move the previous model year off the lot. 

You may still be able to take advantage of slow sales, but the auto market is booming right now, so don’t expect a huge drop in prices when winter rolls around.  

Dealerships are trying to meet quotas 

It’s no secret that dealerships operate on monthly and annual quotas. These influence bonuses and commissions offered by both the dealership owner and manufacturers the dealership works with.  

This is why waiting until the end of the year can be the perfect time to buy. Not only are salespeople under pressure to meet their monthly quota, but they’ll also want to snag last-minute sales for the end of the fiscal year.  

Of course, not every dealership operates on a January to December financial schedule. But in general, you may be able to use the system to better negotiate a deal.   

End of year sales 

Franchise dealerships — dealers that have a direct relationship with a manufacturer — may offer rebates and low rates on new cars from the current model year. But year-end sales are common regardless of the franchise or independent status of a dealer. 

Since dealers are trying to meet sales quotas, you might see big drops on the sticker price alongside rebates. If you’re not a strong negotiator, take advantage of winter sales. It may help you get a good deal. 

Fewer people are shopping 

The cold of winter and a busy holiday season often keeps people from car lots. And slow dealership traffic extends into January and February, making them great months to shop for a car, says Mike Quincy, automotive specialist with Consumer Reports. 

The same negotiating rules apply,…

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