Is the 4th of July a Good Time to Buy a Car?

Is the 4th of July a Good Time to Buy a Car?

Fourth of July means fireworks, barbecues and car commercials. The pyrotechnics and the meat should be as good as ever this year. But the over-the-top commercials may be missing something – great deals to offer.

New car prices are near an all-time high right now. The average new car sold for $47,148 in May, the second-highest total ever. Nearly every buyer paid more than the sticker price, with non-luxury buyers paying an average of $1,030 more than the asking price and luxury buyers paying $1,071 more.

This means that car manufacturers and their dealers see little need for discounts on cars this summer.

May was the eleventh consecutive month in which the average new price for new vehicles was above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. We expect June to be the twelfth month in a row, and all that is no reason to believe there will be plenty of great deals during the July 4 holiday.

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Brian Moody, executive editor at Kelley Blue Book and our sister site Autotrader, offers these three suggestions.

  • To be flexible. The best way to get a good deal is to buy a car from the dealer’s existing stock. The cars on the actual lot are cars that the dealer owns, and those are the cars you can get the fastest and perhaps the best price. Also, be flexible on things like color and options.

  • Look for less popular vehicle types. If you’re looking at a popular mid-sized SUV, you’re not getting a deal at all. These types of vehicles are traded well above the selling price in almost all cases. Consider a mid-sized sedan instead if you can make that work.

  • Consider buying a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle. These are often lightly used cars with an extra warranty compared to a used car. While the prices of used vehicles are also increased by historical standards, a good CPO will likely cost less than a good new vehicle.

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Shoppers may also want to consider looking outside the brands that usually grab their attention. Fiat, Buick, Ram and Lincoln all sold the most cars below the manufacturer’s MSRP in May, with most brands selling above MSRP.

This story originally ran