We’re entering the last few months of the year, and with the holiday season on the horizon, adding “buy a new car” to your to-do list may seem like a tall order. But in fact, car shopping at the end of the year could be worth your while.

Making the Most of Year End

Most auto dealers have end-of-the-month and end-of-the-quarter quotas to meet. So shopping toward the end of those periods—like late in November or December—often means they’re more willing to make a deal.

Beyond that, dealers generally have annual sales goals as well. Meeting their goal by the end of the year can have an impact on potential year-end bonuses, plus influence how much inventory dealers will receive from the vehicle manufacturer the following year. So, they may be even more driven to cut prices in order to move cars off the lot late in the year. In fact, dealers tend to offer the deepest discounts—averaging 7.7 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price—in December. On top of that, dealers are also looking to move excess inventory and discontinued models—factors that can contribute even more to the likelihood of scoring a great deal.

How to Maximize Your End-of-Year Car-Buying Power

Take home a bargain with these tips:

  1. Do some pre-shopping research. Check prices at several dealerships and online to make sure you have a good idea of what the vehicle should cost. Also, while you’re researching vehicle prices online, check out Navy Federal’s Car Buying Service, where you’ll find up-front, guaranteed pricing on a wide selection of new and used vehicles from participating dealers. MakingCents from Navy Federal can help you get a clear understanding of the car-buying process, including smart consumer tips on how to get the best value, financing your new ride and things to keep in mind after the purchase.
  2. Shop on a crummy weather day. If it’s cold, snowy or rainy, there may be few potential buyers on the lot. Plus, dealers may be anxious to make a deal and go home.
  3. Show up at the end of the day. The dealer may be eager to chalk up one more sale before the day is over, especially if it’s been a slow sales day.
  4. Ask for additional discounts. Some dealers offer extra money off for servicemembers, seniors or students. Also find out if there are any manufacturer’s rebates you may be eligible for, after you negotiate your best price.
  5. Request some freebies. If the dealer has already given its best price, you can ask if they would throw in floor mats, side-door molding or other extras at no cost. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Speed Up the Sale With a Preapproval

Preapproval is an evaluation that determines whether a potential borrower qualifies for a loan from a lender or the maximum amount that the lender would be willing to lend.

Being preapproved or prequalified by a trusted financial resource like Navy Federal means you know exactly how much car you can afford, so you can go to the dealership knowing your limit.

Not only can that be a great help in resisting sales pressure, it may increase your bargaining power because you can focus on getting the best price and not getting distracted by applying for dealer financing.
Getting prequalified for a Navy Federal new car loan can help make new car buying easier. It’s quick and easy for members to apply online or through our mobile app,* or call us anytime at 1- 888-842-6328.

*Message and data rates apply.