The Secret to Year-End Car Buying

November 17, 2010  |  

(Smart Money) — With dealers eager to move unsold inventory before the new model year, the end of the year is often the best time to negotiate a deal on a new car. This year, savvy buyers have a new tactic: Figure out which models have been sitting on the lot the longest and score a new car for up to 35% off the sticker price.  The days of waiting lists for hot cars are long gone. Most sit around for more than two months before they sell – the average is currently 67 days, up from 63 days last year. American brands– Chrysler, Ford and General Motors – sit about 75 days, according to Ward’s Auto, which tracks the car industry. But even some buyer favorites, like Japanese cars, are experiencing high inventory; Toyotas average 67 days on the lot, up more than 50% over October 2009, for example. And recent sales improvements have done little to reverse the trend. Lot stays are growing longer despite an 11% year-over-year sales gain of light vehicles (subcompacts, sedans and SUVs) through October.

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