What is Best Time to Buy or Lease a Car?
Look for incentive deals that include rebates, low interest loans, and special leases — all good deals
In the Fall and Winter when new models are coming out is always a good time to buy or lease. During this time of year, most car companies offer attractive deals on most left-over model vehicles, as well as new vehicles.
But the best time is when car makers are offering incentives such as rebates, low interest loans, zero interest loans, loyalty bonuses, and special lease deals.
In the current economy carmakers are taking extraordinary measures to boost car sales by offering generous incentives. Dealers also get hidden factory-to-dealer rebates that can, and usually are, used to pass along to customers as price discounts.
Japanese manufacturers, such as Toyota and Nissan, who have not offered such incentives in the past, are now participating. In fact, Asian car makers have increased incentives at a faster pace than American car makers, although, on average, American car makers have had larger dollar-amount rebates and more 0% loan deals.
The incentives being offered are typically genuine good deals for automotive consumers. Rebates are high, interest rates are low (even 0%), and special leases are outstanding. Car manufacturers are sacrificing profits for increased sales to keep the pipeline flowing. These kinds of deals were only seen a couple of times and year until recently when they are being offered year-round.
What’s the catch?
One “catch” is that only selected car makes, models, and styles have incentives being offered on them at any particular time, although there are more incentives now on more makes and models than any other time in history. Some deals are rebates only; some are offered as”either-or” condition where you must choose between a rebate or a low interest loan.
However, because the rebates and low interest loan deals are time-limited — usually one or two months — customers who are looking for good deals must take one of the current deals or take the chance that the next round of incentives will be better.
Another “catch” is that you won’t be able to take advantage of both a rebate and a low APR at the same time if both are offered. It’s one or the other but not both. For most people, the rebate will be the better deal but you should always compare to make sure. You can use this online auto loan calculator to check it both ways.
Poor credit prevents you from being able to take advantage of low or 0% new-car loan rates and special lease deals offered by car manufacturers. However, companies such as Auto Credit Express and CarsDirect Car Loans specialize in providing best possible rates to people with credit problems.
What are the best deals?
The absolute best deals will be on last year’s leftover models. These are brand new cars and have the highest rebates and make the best buys. Some dealers may have many leftover models to choose from, some may not have any. So you might have to spend time looking to get just the car you want and be a little flexible in your search, in exchange for a good deal.
Generally, when manufacturers and dealers have a high inventory of specific models of last year’s vehicles, those models will get the highest incentives — factory-to-customer rebates, dealer price discounts, low-interest (or 0% interest) loans, and factory-to-dealer cash. The vehicles must be sold to make room for this year’s models.
How can I find car deals with incentives?
You can check current monthly new-car incentives from car manufacturers at Best Car Deals.
Since rebates and incentives change often and quickly, we recommend you get direct real-time price quotes from dealers near the time you want to buy. You can then get free price quotes from dealers using online pricing services such as Edmunds and Car Deal Finder.
The quotes will automatically include any available rebates, discounts, and incentives and you won’t be obligated by any of the offers you are given. It’s free, simple and fast.