How to Buy a Car Before the New Models Come Out

Dealerships must sell the previous year’s models to make room for new inventory.

When most new-model cars start hitting the lots in early fall, car dealers are typically more motivated to sell off their existing inventory to make room for the higher-margin new line. Because the number of new cars allotted to each dealership can depend on the previous month’s sales, buying a new car just before the new models come out can be an ideal time to save money on your new vehicle.

Step 1 – Watch for manufacturer news releases announcing when your preferred car maker’s new-model lines will start appearing at dealerships. While most new lines launch between September and November, some come out as early as February. Sign up for newsletters or email alerts on the manufacturer’s website or create a custom news alert. Shop during the month prior to the release of the newest inventory.

Step 2 – Call local dealerships that carry the car models you are interested in purchasing. Ask when they expect the new models to arrive on their lots. Plan to shop during the month prior to this time period. Check back as the estimated arrival date gets closer in case of manufacturer or freight delays.

Step 3 – Watch and listen for local newspaper, radio, television and billboard ads announcing the arrival of new models in your area. Dealerships usually start advertising well in advance of the actual arrival, giving you time to shop before the latest models come out. Pay close attention to any sale dates mentioned and be sure to shop for a vehicle prior to these times.

Step 4 – Shop on a weekday at the end of September. While some new models do appear throughout the year, September remains the most popular time for models from the new year to hit the market. Weekdays are traditionally less busy than weekends, meaning you get more attention from sales staff and may have more time to negotiate the best deal. Shop at the end of the month because dealerships that have not yet met their monthly quotas have a great deal of incentive to sell you a car, even at a deep discount. In some cases, if dealers do not make their quotas by the end of the month, they do not get credit for any sales that month.