Like everyone else in America this year, your wallet and portfolio probably took a beating and, as a result, buying a new set of wheels may be something you're putting off until 2010. But, waiting may cost you some bucks.
Late December can actually be a great time to buy new wheels, say both consumer advocates and auto dealers, who point to the softening of the mid-level car and truck market in the last quarter as a great reason to buy now instead of waiting.
One of the best days to get the best deals is December 26, according to Jay Rosenthal, sales manager at Rallye Acura in Long Island, NY.
"People aren't always aware of the not-always-advertised deal occurring late in the year in showrooms," Rosenthal said. "You have manufacturers as well as dealers who are looking to hit their objectives before January, and it can get a little crazy. The manufacturers compete against each other, and that's definitely to the consumer's advantage."
The same discounts apply throughout the country in December according to TrueCar.com, who recently released a report listing the ten best days of the year that consumers can take advantage of the most discounts to save them the most money. Four of them are coming up quickly; the remaining "best" days on average nationally are December 24th, 26th, 28th and 31st.
"In terms of these last days of December, this will be highest discount period, based on our survey," said Jesse Toprak, VP of Trends and Insights at TrueCar. "A lot of dealers are trying to get their objective bonuses. After that, we see a dramatic decline in incentives and discounts in January. This is a good window of opportunity."
TrueCar.com has done their homework, too; their findings are based on data for more than 43% of all individual US retail vehicle transactions per month from dozens of proprietary and third party sources offering reports on more than 84% of all new cars at the local level, as well as information on dealer and consumer incentive trends.
"Over the past four months, there have been great opportunities for consumers to buy a new car - from Cash for Clunkers to Black Friday," says Toprak. "But if they missed those specials and are in the market now, December proves to be an excellent time for them to strike a deal."
Toprak cautions, however, that consumers shouldn't expect every car on the lot to be given away.
"Some cars won't be discounted at all if they're in high demand," he says. "But if you're looking for, say, a 2009 Dodge Durango, or other models being discontinued after this year, you can get up to 25% off. Do your homework and you'll do ok."