Everyone seems to have an opinion about the best time to buy a new car – the best day of the month, the best month of the year, even the best hour of the day. The consensus seems to be that buying a car near the end of the month is the best time because the sales people are anxious to meet their sales quotas. While that is true, there’s more to it than that, and understanding what really motivates the car dealers can help strengthen your negotiating position. Sales quotas are important to the sales people, but bonuses are crucial to the car dealers.
Bonuses, such as cash and paid vacations are offered by the car manufacturer when the dealer exceeds a certain sales volume each month. It could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars to the dealer. A dealer could be right at the bonus threshold near the end of the month and then be willing to move cars off the lot at most any cost because they will make up their lost margin through the bonus. Bonuses are not offered every month, but the months that they are sure to be offered are in the fall when the manufacturers are anxious to get their new models into inventory. The month of October seems to be the sweet spot for bonus and inventory clearing activity. And, you thought you were too old for “trick or treat.”