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Strategies for Purchasing a Vehicle During Fall & Winter

Strategies for Purchasing a Vehicle During Fall and Winter

New vehicle sales hit a low point in spring 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The auto industry has been recovering since then, though the sales rebound is largely due to SUVs and trucks. So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, especially a car instead of an SUV or truck, now is the time to buy. Dealerships may be especially eager to unload unsold inventory, on top of the usual end-of-year incentives that we’ll detail below.

If you have questions about purchasing a vehicle or obtaining auto financing, our knowledgeable employees are here to help! Call (877) 818-DNCU or contact one of our Northern New Mexico branch locations in Española, Los Alamos, White Rock and Santa Fe.

When is the best time to buy a car?

Man places sale sign on car

The fall and winter seasons—generally October through December—are considered the best time to buy a new vehicle. Specifically, big holidays such as Labor Day, Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day may bring the most money-saving deals. Here’s how to find the best offers within this special time period:

  • End of month: Dealership sales teams have quarterly and monthly sales goals. If salespeople don’t meet these goals, they may not receive a bonus. That’s why you could have more negotiating leverage if you show up a few days before the end of a month.
  • Popularity: Another way to save money is to choose a vehicle model that doesn’t sell as well as the dealership’s most popular cars/trucks/SUVs. If you have a specific brand in mind, such as Ford or Toyota, conduct some research on that brand’s bestselling models. Then see what kind of deal you can get on a less popular choice.
  • Low-traffic days: As a general rule of thumb, dealerships are busiest around the weekend. The best savings can be found on a Monday or Tuesday, as well as other types of low-traffic days such as bad weather.
  • Model changeover periods: Just before next year’s model arrives in September or October, dealerships are eager to clear out the existing model. This is also true once an announcement is made that a model will be redesigned or discontinued.
  • New Year’s Eve: Autotrader cites this holiday as the best of all fall/winter holidays in terms of sales because it’s end of month, end of quarter, end of year, and a holiday.

Why buy a car at the end of the year?

The new year is a time of fresh starts for many people, including car dealerships. No one wants last year’s model on the showroom floor, so these “old” vehicles may come with deep discounts. Every dollar off the sticker price is less of a hit on your bank account—or less that you have to finance and pay interest on.

General Car Buying Incentives for Consumers

A couple shops for a new car

In addition to a discounted price, look for one or more of these incentives to sweeten the deal:

  • Cash Back Rebates: Usually come with models that aren’t selling as well as the dealership would like. Instead of getting a rebate check in the mail, a cash back rebate will lower the purchase price of the vehicle. Keep in mind that New Mexico is one of the states in which the value of the rebate still counts toward the total amount you’ll be taxed on.
  • Low APR Financing: Depending on the type of vehicle you purchase, as well as your credit score, you may qualify for one of the dealership’s lowest interest rates on your vehicle loan. However, it’s always good to get pre-qualified from your local credit union first. That way you can compare offers and aren’t dependent on the dealership for financing.
  • Lease Deals: Similar to a cash-back rebate on a vehicle purchase, a lease deal usually lowers the residual value of the car or the capitalized cost.
  • Loyalty Programs: If you are someone who buys the same make and model year after year, you may be offered a special loyalty incentive such as a cash-back rebate.
  • Bonus Cash: Usually targeted to a specific democratic, such as recent college graduates or veterans. You may have to call beforehand to find out if there are any bonus cash offers available.

4 Advantages Of Buying A Car At Year-End

New car owner signs documents inside new car

  1. Consumers have the upper hand when buying a vehicle at the end of the year. According to TrueCar’s analysis, buyers on New Year’s Eve could save an average of about 8% off the sticker price.
  2. Take advantage of holiday discounts, sales, and extra incentives such as 0% APR financing, trade-in offers, and no money down at signing.
  3. Choose from the newest vehicles available. If you love getting the latest model, wait until all of next year’s cars, trucks, and SUVs have been rolled out in the fall so you have the best selection to choose from.
  4. Enjoy less competition from other buyers. Despite all the holiday commercials of people gifting brand new vehicles with large red bows on them, the end of the year is often not as busy for dealerships. Whether due to inclement weather or general holiday business, fewer customers could mean greater flexibility and incentives for you.

Buying a car in New Mexico: What documents do you need?

Rules and taxes around car buying vary by state. Here’s what you need to know about New Mexico:

  • Obtain Certificate of Title (the dealership will handle this).
  • Complete Emission Testing is required for Bernalillo County residents
  • Register your vehicle with New Mexico MVD within 30 days of purchase.
  • Out-of-state vehicles coming to New Mexico require an in-person VIN inspection at specified MVD locations.
  • Bring with you to the MVD: Odometer Statement, Certificate of Title, Application for Title and Registration, Proof of Insurance, Driver’s License, and Emission Test Certificate if applicable.
  • Registration fee for passenger vehicles is based on the weight and model year of the vehicle. Fees range from $27.00 to $62.00 for a one (1) year-registration or $54.00 to $124.00 for a two (2) year-registration.
  • Registration fees for trucks with a declared gross vehicle weight (DGVW) of 26,000 pounds or less are also based on the weight and model year of the vehicle. Registration fees range from $38.00 to $207.00 for a one (1)-year registration or $76.00 to $414.00 for a two (2)-year registration.

Apply for a new or used auto loan from DNCU!

Let us help you get into your next vehicle with an auto or motorcycle loan from your local credit union. Whether you’re looking for the best deal on a new vehicle or planning to buy used, we offer a range of convenient auto loan options to meet your needs. Apply online today!