When’s the best time to buy a new car?

Most people tend to buy new cars when they feel they need to, but is that really the best way to decide when to purchase one? After all, a car is – for most of us – the second most expensive purchase we will ever make.

You can save a lot of money by choosing to purchase your car at certain points in the year, because dealers offer bigger discounts at certain times. Let’s look at what the best times of year to buy cars are, and why.

Discounts depend on several factors

The retail motor industry works on a month-by-month basis, with the year split into four quarters.

Where you are in the month can be very important, because most sales people’s pay structures (and bonuses) are based on their monthly sales. However, there are often quarterly top-ups to those commissions which mean sales execs might be particularly keen to do deals towards the end of the month and end of the quarter.

When should I buy my next car?

Unless you have inside information from the dealership you are going to buy from, you will never know exactly when the biggest discounts are on offer. However, it’s worth pointing out that because so many UK car dealers use carwow, configuring a car through our homepage should be your first port of call – there are good deals all year round, and we pride ourselves on only working with dealers who give great customer service.

You may be able to get a better discount than usual by ordering your car late in a month, because sales execs may be a few cars short of their targets and therefore be willing to offer more discount to make a deal. Unfortunately, if they have already hit all their targets by the time you go in, you won’t get anything like as big a discount as you would have when they were chasing their targets.

Pick March or September for the latest numberplate

The first and third quarters of the year have the biggest targets because the the year’s two new registration plate numbers come out in March and September.

If you are planning to make a purchase, the first and third quarters of the year are the best times to have your car delivered because you’ll get the latest number plate on your shiny new car – meaning it’ll look like the newest car on the road until the next number plate comes out.

New cars lead times

Don’t get too hung up about when you actually place your order, because when it is actually registered to you and delivered is by far and away the most important factor to the dealership. If you order a car from the factory (known as a factory order), it’ll be built to your specification, but will take anywhere between four weeks and eight months. This is often referred to as the lead time.

If you want the latest registration plate, ask when you order if it’s possible to time it so that your new car arrives in March or September.

New-car buying tips

You now know that registration date and delivery is all important, and that March and September are the months when dealers will be chasing the biggest targets and their biggest rewards of the year. What you need to do is make sure you are ready to be as flexible as you can to snag the best deal by being prepared to:

1. Buy at the best times of the year for the deal, not necessarily for you

2. Accept that that you may have to take delivery of the car when it may not be entirely convenient to you

3. Consider different specifications and colours to your ideal to make sure dealers can get you a car – consider buying a car from stock (not a factory order)

4. Put your money where your mouth is. Some deals really are limited by time – don’t be afraid to sign on the dotted line there and then the deal is good

Ready to buy your new car?

Configure your ideal car and get in touch with the UK’s top car dealers by using the carwow configurator – it makes getting a good deal incredibly easy. There are several hundred dealers giving carwow users their best offers all year round, and there’s no hassle or haggling involved. If you haven’t decided what to buy, use carwow’s car chooser to narrow down the 400+ cars on sale to the ones that best suit your needs.

The video below shows how it all works.

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