Why Car Buyers May Score the Best Deal on New Year’s

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Car shoppers might feel dizzy after getting an endless stream of sales pitches for the end of summer, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then the holiday season through December. However, anyone who’s still on the fence may land the best deal on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or January 2. Auto analysts told MarketWatch that these three days are ripe for shoppers to score with dealers trying to meet sales quotas by any means necessary.

2013 ends January 2, 2014

As with Labor Day weekend, car dealers stretch their bookkeeping to include sales notched after Jaunary 1. That gives car buyers not only New Year’s Eve, but in many cases January 1 and January 2, Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com told MarketWatch. Instead of the old pattern that brought great deals to auto consumers in the summer, the robust industry and multitude of trade-ins from November have made December a good time to buy new or used automobiles, especially 2013 models.

Stretching the calendar into the new year helps auto dealers to meet their quotas, but it also gives buyers a negotiating tool when standing on the lot or showroom floor. In this case, there is a tomorrow on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. However, it may depend on the success of the dealership in question.

Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds told MarketWatch that the quality of the deal may hinge on whether the dealer has already nailed his or her targets for 2013 vehicles. Dealers who won’t budge may not be playing possum.

Used car and gas prices drop together

While new car shoppers will look to take advantage of low financing and “cash back” offers, used auto buyers can look to the trade-in selection for increasingly good deals. According to Kelley Blue Book data, small used cars are priced down 17 percent this year compared to a 12 percent rate for the industry as a whole, MarketWatch reports, with small used car prices on average $1,500 lower than they were in 2012.

Auto consumers have several factors benefiting them at the end of 2013, with low gas prices and brisk industry sales chief among them. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas prices averaged less than $3.27 for most of December across America. That’s nearly one dollar lower than peak prices in California during February 2013. These lower prices equate to less demand for small cars, which means dealers will encounter more buyers trading in used compacts for larger cars.

Automobile shoppers have numerous advantages in the last days of 2013. It may be the perfect opportunity to ring in 2014 with a new car.

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