4/15/2011 1:59 PM ET|
The best time to buy a car
Shopping late in the day or on weekends can be a hassle because a lot of people fresh from work may be there doing the same thing. And there are few things less pleasant than sitting in a busy showroom for hours trying to complete a purchase.
Do the wrong thing
"If it weren't for the recent tsunami in Japan, I'd think you'd be able to get a great deal on a Toyota Yaris," Lang says.
According to Ward's Auto, Toyota had enough of its not-so-popular Yaris subcompacts on hand in early March to last for 105 days of sales. In comparison, Toyota had only 32 days' worth of Prius hybrids. That meant getting a great deal on a Yaris would've been much easier than finding a heavily discounted Prius.
But the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan dramatically reduced Toyota's homeland production. So even fewer Prius models are available, and the inventory of Yaris models has been eaten away. It also doesn't hurt that the Yaris gets solid fuel economy at a time when gas is headed up beyond $4 a gallon. The window of opportunity to get a great deal on a Yaris is likely closing.
"The way to get ahead is to do the unpopular thing," Lang says. "Buy the car no one else wants while its inventory is piling up."
So follow the news, adjust your expectations and buy an unpopular car when it's in great supply.
The new and old bargains
Last year, Chevrolet was on the verge of replacing its unloved Cobalt with the new Cruze. In order to keep Cobalt sales moving and the Lordstown, Ohio, plant that built it humming, General Motors put large incentives on it.
"Cobalts were going out the door for $9,995, with $4,000 worth of incentives," Lang recalls.
Older designs facing the end of their production lives are often the most heavily discounted by their manufacturers, so it's good to follow what's coming up. For instance, Honda has announced that a new Civic is coming for the 2012 model year. Right now may be the best chance ever to get one of the current, popular and well-designed 2011 Civics at a discount.
On occasion, however, a new model may be the best deal. When a carmaker is entering a part of the market it's never been in before, it may discount the new product substantially to gain market share. The most notable example of that was in 1990, when Toyota was determined to establish its then-new Lexus brand and was selling the exquisite LS 400 luxury sedan for about $35,000 -- at least $10,000 less than comparable models from Mercedes or BMW.
More recently, Hyundai kept down the price of its Genesis as it sought to enter the luxury market. And Kia has been aggressive in pushing its redesigned Sorento, a small SUV, as it opened a factory in West Point, Ga., that greatly expanded production capacity.
The market for cars is, like the market for every other commodity, one that's driven by information -- imperfect, muddled and contradictory information. So keep abreast of the news, cruise the manufacturers' websites to look for big-money incentives and open yourself up to considering unpopular vehicles that may be great bargains.
The better you know what's going on in the market, the better you'll know when is the best time to strike and make your purchase.
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Our family doesn't buy new cars anymore....Only used cars
Need our money for more important family needs, food, fuel, rent, insurance, utilities..
I have owned many vehicles in my many years of driving.. Both new and used.. And I have had my share of crappy ones (both new and used) and excellent ones (again both new and used)...
Just because it is new doesn't mean it is the best.. Only that the warranty will take care of any problems without money out of your pocket...
It all depends on what type of vehicle you are buying and how old and beat up it is...Or on the flip side what type of vehicle in a newer model and how bad you want it....
If you bought a new vehicle and had a payment of $350 and had no problems for 1 year you paid $4200 for that vehicle that year... On the same token say you bought a used one and had a payment of $200 and had to spend $1000 on the vehicle you would have paid $3400 for the vehicle that year..AND had a savings of $800.....
So it all depends on what you can afford (or think you can afford) and what is best for you...
Buying a used car is a risk, my father always looked at it as buying someone else's problem. I did buy a used toyota Pick Up (1983), I bought it in 1984. Many problems with that Toyota. I worked on it to keep it running, 10 years or so later, I bought a new truck. I bought a Dodge Ram Truck. I never bought used again. As for the Toyota, I sold it to a guy that gave it to his son. He had problems like I did..
Today the used cars might be a safer risk, but I hate to gamble. I'll stick to a new vehicle.
I will never touch a used car again- as long as I have a little money in my pocket.
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