The holiday season is fast approaching, and typically this time of year is when retailers hope to make their sales for the year and actually turn a profit. The day after Thanksgiving in the United States is nicknamed “Black Friday” because this is when most retailers make enough money to put them in the positive (in the black) for the year. Car dealerships do not typically function in that fashion, but with some good deals floating out there for a new vehicle, this weekend might be a good time to buy.
Is Black Friday the Day to Buy?
When Motor Review needs a professional in automotive sales, we turn to Mike Correra. We asked Mike about Black Friday and if the deals offered then meet or exceed financial offers available during other times of the year.
AG: “Is Black Friday a good time to buy a car?”
MC: “In my opinion its a GREAT time to buy a new car! Auto makers know they are competing with retail stores for eyeballs and buyers time and tend to offer additional incentives above and beyond the normal discounts.”
Ford is currently offering a $1000 gift card, in addition to any normal rebate or incentive, for a vehicle purchased during their Black Friday sales event.
Other manufacturers, like Dodge, offer year-end incentives to purchase a vehicle through their Big Finish event. Lexus even has their December to Remember event with commercials of Lexus vehicles wrapped in bows.
What about Black Friday Being at the End of the Month?
Something particularly interesting about this year’s Black Friday is that it also falls on the last Friday of the month. Many people think that purchasing a vehicle at the end of the month is a great way to score a deal. We ask Mike about that.
AG: “Will purchasing a vehicle at the end of the month improve the chances of getting a good deal?”
MC: “End of the month is always a good time, but is it a surefire best time? It really depends on the store itself. If the store has had a good month, the manager might be more inclined to pass on a ‘skinny’ deal. On the flip side, if the store has had a bad month the manager might take any deal to create some activity.”
The Ford deal is a pretty nice offering. While it is not $1000 in cold, hard cash, it is money that can be spent to purchase just about anything. That might be the fuel for the thirsty F-150 SVT Raptor that may have just been purchased. Also, individual dealerships may have special promotions or offers exclusive to them. Targeting dealerships that might not see as much sales traffic may be a good place to score a deal.
Year-end deals typically are pretty good from all manufacturers, but the absolute best time to buy would be when the next model year hits dealerships. Many people do not want “last year’s model” even if it is brand new. If the body style significantly changed, that will cause the prices of the previous year to drop even more.
Ultimately, the sales manager sets the final price of the vehicle, and depending on how desperately he or she wants to move metal will dictate the deal the buyer will get. Our best advice is to be educated, though. Using sites like Edmunds.com to look up invoice pricing will make the negotiating process much easier, and help the buyer know they are getting a good deal. Also remember some vehicles have more margin than others. A small hatchback might have less wiggle-room in pricing than a large pickup truck. This is where research comes in handy.
Good luck on automotive shopping on Black Friday. The crowds should be far less than the local Walmart and the deals might be even better!