Dealerships are starting their everything-must-go sales
to clear off lots. Car buyers this year face a different sales situation
than they usually have. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for
SmartMoney.com, gives tips on what to watch out for when buying a car
Sales are off to a late start this summer,
because shortages stemming from the Japan earthquake in March meant
automakers were struggling to put cars on lots. September is a prime
time to buy trucks, SUVs and luxury cars, which have some of the best
sales right now. But wait until at least October for a small,
fuel-efficient car. Japanese automakers are still beefing up supply, and
should have better deals then.
With supply tighter than
normal, deals are fairly varied by zip code. Use a site like Edmunds.com
or Kelley Blue Book to see what deals are available in your area.
Consider that some configurations of a particular model may have better
deals, too, enough to make up for a higher sticker price.
sure to tell the dealership what you’re driving. You can often get even
better deals for staying with the same brand you’ve bought before. Audi
is tacking an extra $3,000 on some models, while Ford offers an extra
$500 or so. On the flip side, a few brands offer extra if you’re trading
in a car from one of their competitors. At BMW, that’s an extra $2,000.
Sales are so late this year that some brands already have
2012s on the lot, and are already discounting them. The 2012 Acura TL
is, with current deals, just $800 more than the 2011. When weighing
model year, consider any new features, as well as resale value if you
plan to sell within five years.
Used prices have risen this year with summer demand for fuel-efficient
cars, and those Japan shortages. So, buy a used car with caution. There
are also fewer cars coming out of lease deals this year. If you’re
thinking used, be sure to compare new prices, too, which may not be