New car and truck prices during August over the past five years have averaged $29,296, which is $169 lower than any other month of the year. Average prices in December, according to TrueCar numbers, averaged $31,146, making it actually the most expensive month to buy. The second-cheapest month to buy was found to be July.
"This is a great example of the power of data, which shows dealers are clearing out older inventory in August," said TrueCar founder and CEO Scott Painter. "Consumer buying trends have been turned upside down during the past decade due to the emergence of big data."
Conventional wisdom has pointed to December being the best month to buy a car because dealerships are making big pushes to meet year-end sales goals, as well as clearing out old vehicles in order to make room for the next year's models. This, so the thinking goes, causes them to place big incentives on their inventory. This data, however, turns that type of thinking on its head, suggesting that dealers are in fact doing the majority of incentivizing in the summer.
Other findings from the study should help car shoppers even more in finding a discount. TrueCar discovered that the best day of the week to buy a car is Sunday, which sees an average transaction price of $29,300. Friday is the worst day, with an average transaction price of $31,351. It's better to shop earlier in the month, too, as the first couple of days see an average of $390 in savings versus the rest of a given month.