Why Car Buyers Should Wait Until Summer For Bigger Deals

Key Takeaways

  • Overall, the end of the year is always the best time to buy
  • If you’re in the market today, waiting until summer could save you thousands
  • High new car inventory will drive used car prices downward, if you’re patient

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Last updated Apr 12, 2024

If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, you might want to hold off on signing any papers just yet. Historical data and current trends both suggest that waiting until the summer could yield significant savings, especially this year. Here’s why delaying your purchase until the warmer months might be a smart move.

The Seasonal Cycle of Car Sales

Car sales, like many other retail sectors, are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Typically, the period from April to June sees a decline in wholesale values of used cars. This dip is crucial because it usually precedes a similar trend in the retail market. What starts as a decrease at the auctions eventually translates to lower prices on dealership floors. This means that by mid-summer, potential car buyers can access better deals as sellers adjust to the new market realities.

New Car Inventory and Interest Rates

Currently, the automotive market is navigating through a difficult phase characterized by high interest rates. These rates affect the cost of floorplanning—the method dealerships use to finance their inventory of vehicles. Believe it or not, car dealers don’t own their lot inventory outright. 

As a result, holding onto large volumes of new cars becomes increasingly costly for dealers. To mitigate this financial strain, dealerships are expected to become more aggressive in selling new cars as the year progresses.

Right now, new car dealers are already grappling with shockingly high inventories. Check out the slowest (and fastest) cars to sell today.

The Ripple Effect on Used Car Prices

best time to buy a used car

The push to offload new cars at lower prices sets off a chain reaction in the entire market. Lower new car prices put downward pressure on used car values. Used car prices had been steadily falling, only to rise slightly in the past month

There needs to be a reasonable price difference between new and used cars to attract buyers toward older models, and as prices for new vehicles drop, so too must the prices of used ones. This ensures that both segments of the market adjust to maintain consumer interest across the board.

Simply put, as new car incentives get better, used car prices tend to fall as sellers try to attract buyers. You, as the buyer, can take advantage of that in the summer months ahead.

The Best Time to Buy: July and August

Overall, the end of the year is always the best time to shop for car. But that’s several months away, and most of today’s shoppers can’t wait that long. So with that and the factors we covered in mind, the months of July and August emerge as the optimal time for purchasing a car.

During these summer months, dealerships are keen to clear out existing inventory to make room for the new model year vehicles arriving in the fall. This urgency is reflected in the kinds of incentives they offer: deeper discounts, more attractive financing options, and generous trade-in values.

As we just went over, these new car incentives also translate to lower used car prices. So no matter what type of vehicle you are in the market for, lower prices are just a few months ahead. And if you’re buying new, manufacturer incentives are likely to bring even better APR financing offers as well.

👉 Free Car Buying Help Is Here!

Car buying cheat sheet

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Practical Tips for Summer Car Shopping

  • Research and Compare: Before heading to the dealerships, arm yourself with information. Use tools like CarEdge Insights to compare prices and features across different models and understand the fair market value of the cars you are interested in. Learn more about CarEdge Insights.
  • Check for Incentives: Manufacturers often offer regional incentives that may not be widely advertised. Check manufacturer websites and CarEdge Deals for the latest information on rebates, low-interest financing, and lease specials. See this month’s best specials.
  • Test Drive in Advance: Test drive vehicles now and decide what you want so when the sales start, you’re ready to act quickly on a good deal. Here’s how to test drive the smart way.

By waiting until the summer to purchase your next vehicle, you’re on track to spend less and have more deals to choose from. Keep an eye on CarEdge for the latest updates on market trends and dealer incentives to make an informed decision when the time is right. Remember, the best time to buy a car might just be when the temperatures are high, and the prices are low!

You can always track the best deals with these resources, all updated monthly:

👉 The Overall Best Deals This Month

👉 The Best Lease Offers Today

👉 This Month’s Best Financing and Cash Offers (All Automakers)


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