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When is the best time of year to buy a car?

When it comes to getting the best deal on your next car, timing is everything.  

There are things happening all year round that can make bagging a bargain more – or less – likely. Here are a few things to think about to stand the best chance of getting a good deal. 

New number plate formats 

When? March and September 

New number plate formats drive big spikes in brand-new car sales. Because people tend to part-exchange their old car when they upgrade, these are busy months for used car sales, too. 

While the busiest times of year may not be the best to bag a bargain on a brand-new car, it’s a different story for used cars. Dealers can end up with more cars than they have space for and may cut you a deal to clear some room. They may even start clearing space early, so deals can be found in February and August as well as March and September.  

Target deadlines 

When? March, June, September and December 

Car dealers work hard to hit their monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets. So, shopping at the end of the month – or better, the end of a quarter or even the end of the year – means you’re more likely to find them in a haggling mood. 

Some dealerships tie bonuses to sales targets, which means salespeople may be willing to let a few cars go for less if it means locking in their bonus! 

Seasonal demand 

When? It depends 

People tend to want different cars at different times of year. Spring is convertible season, so people can spend their summer cruising with the top down and the wind in their hair. Autumn, meanwhile, is a popular time to buy a 4x4, because they’re better equipped to handle the gloriously wet, icy and muddy conditions British winters are famous for. 

If you’re looking for a car like this, then shopping in its “off season” – so, autumn and winter for convertibles or summer for 4x4s – means you may stand more chance of bagging yourself a bargain. 

Sales events 

When? All year, but particularly November and January 

Big sales events like Black Friday and the January sales aren’t just for the high street. Car dealers often get in on the action, too, offering attractive discounts on new and used cars.  

Keep an eye out for sales on bank holiday weekends and during summer as well to find discount deals without the hassle of haggling.  

New model releases 

When? All year round 

When a car manufacturer updates one of their models, then many people will delay their purchase to get the latest look and new features. If you’re not fussed about this, then this can be a good time to buy the soon-to-be old model, as dealers will be keen to clear their stock in anticipation of the new release. 

In general, car models get a big update every 5-7 years. So, you might be able to work out if the car you want is due a revamp. You can also keep an eye on sites like AutoTrader to stay up to date on new model releases and time your purchase to perfection!   

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