Snapshot – In India, a car is usually a woman or man’s second largest investment after a house. The country’s traditions dictate that big purchases be made under the auspices of favourable stars. While astrology isn’t exactly our strong suit, detailing the best times to buy a car, including the ones with the best discounts, longest test drives and best season definitely is. After all, timing is everything, be it asking out a girl or buying a car. CarToq details the best times to buy a car, in terms of week, month, year and then some more.
Walking into a dealership for your car – A few handy tips
What is the right time to visit a dealer?
Avoid visiting car dealerships early in the day, say about 10 AM, as the dealership staff are just arriving to work. On many occasions, you might not have enough sales personnel to attend to you or test cars for you to drive. An hour after lunch is when you can walk in for those longer test drives and a closer look at the car of your choice.
Week – Weekends see most car dealerships across car brands teeming with buyers, unless if you happen to walk into a Hindustan/Force Motors dealership that is. So, the weekday could be a good time for you to go check out the car you are considering for purchase. Mondays are usually great as most people have packed work days on Mondays, which also means that walk-ins to dealerships will be lower on this day. Lesser walk-ins means more eager sales personnel.
Asking for a test car at your office/residence
Calling a car for a test drive at your office or residence can also follow the best time of the day and week approaches. Schedule an appointment with the car sales woman/man at a time that is a little past an hour after lunch so that you get to drive the car on relatively empty roads. Rush hour means heavy traffic. So avoid it by all means. Mondays work well here too.
Putting money where your mouth is – Let’s talk car discounts
Car sales see peaks and troughs regularly. Some months of the year see a spurt in demand while others see depressed sales. Picking out periods of lean demand usually delivers the best discounts on a platter. Here are a few times of the month and year when car discounts are at their most generous.
End of month – buy when salesmen are under pressure!
Car sales personnel are under constant pressure to push sales and the incentives linked with car sales. The last week of each month is a pressure time for car salesmen, a time when many of their ilk dangle attractive carrots to achieve sales targets and bag incentives. The end of month plan to book cars can be used by good negotiators to bag good discounts on cars. Therefore, scheduling your dealership visit at this time of the month and booking the car can give you access to decent deals.
April-June – big discounts
March is a time for income tax filing and also a time when a large posse of entrepreneurs indulge in car purchases, eyeing depreciation benefits. So, March is generally a decent time for dealerships. April is when the action starts petering down, up to say June, just ahead of the monsoons. After the monsoons, subject to a benevolent rain god, rural demand usually picks up and the sales are on a consecutive highs what with the festive season kicking in during August. So, April-June is a lean period of the year when car discounts get larger with the hope of getting more buyers into signing the dotted lines. Car shopping can be quite rewarding at this time.
December – big discounts due to low sales
Most car buyers avoid December with the view of buying a car in January, a time when they get to drive off in a car with a fresh model year on its VIN plates. This means that dealerships are eager to sell out November/December stock at big discounts. If you plan to keep your car for 5 years, you needn’t worry too much about the resale value being hit by buying a car with November/December manufacturing dates. The attractive discounts on these cars offset the loss in resale value anyway.
January-March – great time for previous year’s car at low price
You’d be thinking that January to March will see more people rushing into car showrooms as the new year has arrived. Yes, you’re thinking right but then again, what happens to left over stocks of the previous year? These stocks go for chunky discounts and this is why January-March is a great time to pick up car of the previous year. So, if you have no issues with buying a car built last year, this year, then the first three months of the year are a fantastic time to snag some attractive discounts.
Other handy tips
A car model that is about to be replaced by a new model usually goes at large discounts. This phenomenon repeats year after year, which also explains why car makers are so secretive about car launch timelines. So, keep an eye out for new car launches so that you can snag the older model at good discounts. This strategy works throughout the year. For instance, Fiat is about to launch the Punto Facelift and the outgoing Punto is available at attractive deals.
When a big voltage, new launch happens, cars that compete with the newly launched product are usually offered with discounts in tow. Here’s an illustration. The advent of the 2014 Honda City, with diesel engine in tow, saw Hyundai dealers lining up discounts on the Verna. Though the City is now the undisputed sales king in the C-Segment, its arrival helped soften Hyundai Verna prices.
Dzire image courtesy Motorbeam