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Best time to buy a car

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
8 replies 1.2K views
martsmarts Forumite
13 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
Is there a "best" time of the week, month or even year to buy a car. Ie; when are the best discounts available.

If its manufacturer specific or even location specific - I'm looking to buy an New or nearly new Audi A3 in the Cheshire area.



  • NileNile Forumite, Board Guide
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    Hello marts

    I'll move your thread over to the 'Motoring & Public Transport' board, where it should get more views.

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  • philhuffphilhuff Forumite
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    It varies a lot, but as a general rule, try the very end of December. People are spending less on cars at that point, what with Christmas seemingly always falling at about the same time, it's the end of the month, quarter and year for many dealers, and all the cars become a year older in a few days.

    Being even more general, the end of any month is the best time for any deals to be done - your sale could be the one that puts the salesperson and/or dealer into a higher bonus band.

    I once bought a car at about 4:30pm on the last day of a month, which coincidentally was also the end of the dealers quarter, and got the car for less than cost price. The dealer making a loss of a £100 or so to me meant they got another few thousand in bonuses.

    Bear in mind, however, that you'll lose close to a months road tax. That's not something that ever bothers me - in the grand scheme of things, £15 for a month's tax is nothing compared to the cost of buying a running a car for a few years.
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  • philhuffphilhuff Forumite
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    Just to add to that, you should be able to squeeze about £1,500 off a new mid-range A3, despite the current demand for them. I've seen quotes from for up to £2,000 off list price.
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  • Thanks

    I'm looking at the A3 3dr, 2.0 TDI DSG Sport or SE models - if possible to 170Bhp, as opposed to the 140 version. No specific timescales in mind.

    I've looked on DTD and their prices seem good, I've also looked at the What Car target price - which also looks good, like you say knocking off ~ 1500 off list.

    I've got a Seat Leon 04 TDI 130 to p/x, or sell back to Seat (I'd rather not go though the hassel of a private sale, even if theres more £££ to be had).

    It looks like Audi might be bringing out a new A3 in 2008/09/10 after a quick search on google. Dates vary depending on the website :)
  • AstarothAstaroth Forumite
    5.4K Posts
    Generally speaking near the end of the week/ month should be better as this is typically when they will be giving an extra push to get the sales figures looking good (esp if they are short of target). Likewise just before new plates are going to be available (though less than it used to be).

    Some vehicles are more seasonal too - open top cars sell best in spring so cheapest late autmn. 4x4s I imagine is the reverse of it
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  • There's a useful article on the 'Buying Tips' page of our own website regarding good times to buy..which you might find useful.

    The best time depends on what you actually need: if you will have to factory- order the car due to lack of stock/needing factory options added etc, then the best time is at the start of a calendar quarter. This is because most manuf'rs use the start of a quarter to implement new bonuses and/or pricelists. If you order at the start of the period your car will be built safely within that quarter so you wont be affected by any drops in bonus for cars registered in the following quarter.

    If you order halfway through a quarter and the car is on a 8-10 week leadtime, you'll be taking a gamble if your quote was based on pricing available for cars registered by the end of the quarter in which you placed your order. if you can't get price protection then the price charged might be more than you were quoted if the manufacturer has changed its pricing with its dealers by the time your car is ready - price protection is'nt always available.

    A good example is Ford's new pricing applicable from Monday- the deals are fab' but only last for cars registered by 18th Dec' so if you need to factory-order your choice - you need to get your order in by mid October!

    Audi's are a bit overdue for a price 'tweak' so expect one anytime soon, and A3 stock is not easy to get. 1.9 TDI Sportbacks are on longer than normal leadtimes, if that was going to be your preferred choice.

    If you are taking a car that is something easily available in UK stock, then the end of quarter 1 and quarter 3 is a good time to look for immediate stock.

    Hope that helps!
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  • I found I could get a major discount earlier this year by buying my previous model Yaris a month or so after the new model had come out. The garage were desperate to get it off their forecourt and not only did they drop the price from book considerably I also managed to get an extended warranty, free paintwork insurance and two years free servicing thrown in.

    New models don't come in very often of course. In the normal course of events go at the end of the month, or quarter, when a garage will be aiming to complete it's quota of sales for that period. Also consider buying pre-reg.
  • codgercodger Forumite
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    Second week of January in any given year.

    We've bought twice on those dates, from 'car supermarkets' which are very price competitive anyway.

    What detracts from them is aggressive selling of unwanted add-ons as well as way, way down PX values (understandable to a degree, given that they're marking down the sticker price of what they're selling).

    Trying to get a car supermarket to increase its PX offer is always very, very difficult, as the salesman's usual tactic is to say he needs to input your own car's details into "the system", and then "get back a quote" (from God only knows where). After that he says well, that's the figure I'm told I can accept.

    But something funny happens in the first couple of weeks of January. Suddenly, to get a sale, the sales people seem to have a remarkable flexibility on trade-in values. . .;)

    * The above won't work that well if you're looking for a car more than a couple of years old. Our cars have been respectively 14 months and 17 months old, with the balance of 3-year manufacturer warranty still applying. The amounts saved have been several £000s. . .
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