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The end of a year is normally a good time to buy cars, but maybe not in 2020

Posted at 3:43 PM, Dec 30, 2020

The end of the year is normally a good time to get a deal on a car. As with so many other things, that's not really the case this year.

An industry expert tells us it has to do with how wild the market has been all around. Less used cars have been available and manufacturers haven't been able to make as many new cars after shutting down their facilities.

“When it comes to typical year-end sales, you know, if we're not making as many vehicles, they don't need to clear out their inventory. There's no ‘hey, that next model year is coming blow out sales,’ you know, they don't have to incentivize those sales as much, you're not going to see as much 0% APR, $5,000 off, offers like that,” said Ivan Drury, Senior Manager of Insights at Edmunds.

Drury says car buyers are usually looking for current year models, which tend to have the biggest discounts. Normally, they'd be widely available well into March. Now, he expects them to be scooped up in January.

Drury says you'll likely still get a deal. It just won't be as big of a discount compared to years past.

With demand so high and inventory so low, he says you should act fast but still do your research.

Compromising on a car could cost you big if you're just going to trade it in a year later.

“Really buy want you want, but at the same time don't hesitate if you gotta go, you know, one trim level higher and it's a little more money because if that means you're gonna keep it for another year or two years, it's gonna be so much more worth it,” said Drury.

Drury also recommends getting multiple offers when looking to trade in the car you already have. Online car buying services or dealers will still buy your car outright even if you're not buying a different one from them. Also, offers can vary by thousands of dollars.