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New Cars: When Is The Best Time To Buy Or Lease?

Feb 15, 2008
If you are buying or leasing a new vehicle, you should know when you will be able to get the best deals. Car-selling season begins in March and goes through mid to late October. However, this isn't necessarily the best time to buy or lease a vehicle.

The best time to lease a new vehicle is late in the first quarter of the year or early in the second, March through May. During this time, you should get great leasing rates, rebates from the manufacturers and good residual values. You may even be able to find this good of a deal as early as January. When the second quarter ends in June, manufacturers start focusing on purchasing instead of leasing. Deals on leasing are no longer offered and leasing becomes expensive.

Beginning in August or September, you will find the best deals on new vehicles. Whether you are financing your new vehicle or paying cash, this is the best time of year to buy. At the end of the year, manufacturers and dealers give the best incentives on a model. You will get a much better deal if you buy the current year's model rather than the upcoming year's model. If you are looking for a specific vehicle, especially one that is rare or special in some way, you may want to begin looking in July. By the end of September, inventory levels are low so it may be difficult to get the exact vehicle you want.

Of course, you can wait until October or November and get a really fantastic deal, but because inventories have been picked through by then you may not find exactly what you want. In our experience, it's better to get a car you like than to get a good deal because you're more likely to trade-in a car you dislike earlier than you should. If you're looking for a specific color, feature, etc., it's best not to wait too long. But if those things don't matter to you, the end of the year is a good time to almost steal a new vehicle.

One of the reasons we started this website is that there is a lot of bad advice out there about buying a new vehicle. One example is that some people say that it is a bad idea to buy a new vehicle at the end of the model year even though you are getting a big discount. They reason that because you are basically getting last year's model, the resale value is lower.

You shouldn't buy a new vehicle in the first place if you're worried about resale value, especially over the next two or three years. If you intend to keep it for five or more years, then you should buy a new vehicle. If you are only planning to keep the vehicle you purchase for a couple of years, you should lease buy a used one or lease instead. You will save yourself a lot of money this way.

Save money and buy a new car on a holiday weekend.The last thing to think about is buying on a major holiday weekend. During major holiday weekends manufacturers spend a lot of time and money on marketing and incentives - think about buying during the July 4th, Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend sales. Dealers are aggressive and incentives are good.
About the Author
Author Jason Lancaster, an auto industry veteran, developed AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate advice on when to buy a new auto and the best time to buy a new car.
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