When is the best time to buy a new car?

A woman being handed keys after asking how to sell your carThe great thing about buying a new car today is that the market is full of great offers. Just about every car manufacturer is offering deals to entice you to buy a new car. Whether you're looking to buy a cheaper brand such as a Ford, Vauxhall or Dacia to a more prestigious make like a BMW, Mercedes or Audi everyone one of them are competing to win your business.

The way they entice you to buy a new car from them could be finance led with either a finance deposit contribution, low APR / interest-free or a combination of the two. Generally, you'll find these finance deals on a Personal Contract Plan (PCP) or sometimes referred to as a balloon payment scheme. For more information on finance read our post on The best way to purchase a car.

Another way car dealers can try to tempt you could be in the form of throwing in something as part of the deal such as -

  • Free fuel

  • 12 months free insurance

  • Free Paint work protection from companies like Diamondbrite, Seal & Protect, Supagard and GuardX

  • Free Option Packages e.g., Free Chili or Pepper Pack upgrade on a MINI

  • Free accessories like clothing, luggage or vinyl transfers for the roof or body work


One of the best deals we've seen that incorporates several of these offers is Peugeots Just Add Fuel offer. With this anyone buying a Peugeot get a fixed low monthly payment and it includes 3 years' free insurance, 3 years' warranty, 3 years' servicing, 3 years' car tax and 3 years' road side assistance from someone like the AA or RAC. The thing we really like about this type of deal is that it does exactly what is says on the tin. All you need to do is pay for your fuel and your fixed monthly payment takes care of the rest so no unexpected costs.

Finally, the last way a dealer will try to get you to buy a new car would be to offer a discount on the headline price. This can sometimes be a fixed amount say for example £500 off the screen price or a percentage based amount, e.g., 5%.

So now we know what methods a dealer will use to sell you a new car we can look at when the best time for you to go out there and get the best deal. Timing is everything and if you get it just right you may be able to get a combination of all 3 things we've noted above.

Here's the secret dealers are targeted on a quarterly basis (Quarter 1 January - March, Quarter 2 April - June, Quarter 3 July - September and Quarter 4 October - December) and the best time to buy is at the end of each of quarter March, June, September and December. Why I hear you asking? Well it's because dealers need to hit their targets at the end of each quarter to keep the manufacturer happy and get their bonuses. Now these bonuses often make up to 50% of the total profit a dealer will make out of a new car so missing this is seriously costly.

What tends to happen is most dealers are still trying to hit target at the end of each quarter and are often still short of the total number they require so they're desperate for your business. As hitting target means they'll earn 50% more profit for all the cars they've sold that quarter they will often sell cars at a loss just to hit the number.

To get a dealer to sell you a car at an incredibly low price you will need to be slightly flexible. A dealer's target is achieved if they register the correct amount of cars in the quarter so you will have to look at something they have in physical stock. A lot of cars are now built to order and can often have a delay of two or three months from placing an order to having it delivered. As an example, if you went to a dealer in mid-March trying to get a deal on a car to order then as it will take two months to come through they can't do the deal as it will be registered in the following quarter and won't help them on their current target.

If, however you go into the showroom in mid-March and look at a physical car, then they will likely do you the best deal you can possibly get as that one deal could be the one that helps them hit the target and unlocks those big bonuses. Now you don't necessarily need to have a car from their showroom it just needs to be physical. It's often good to ask them what they can find on the internal system that's built, but in another showroom around the country or at the manufacturer's headquarters.

The best strategy to use would be to go to the manufacturer's website and use their car configurators to build your dream machine. Then as you're approaching the end of any of the quarters, visit your local dealer, present them with your specification and then just be upfront with them. Tell them that you know it's at the end of their targeting period and that you're slightly flexible on specification and that if they find a suitable car and give you their best price you'll have it.

One other thing to add to this would be that you'll get a better deal with no part exchange and there are several ways to do it. You can read more about how to sell your car at this link.

Hopefully, you'll find this information useful and it will enable you to get a great deal. Check out the funny video below from Family Guy about buying a new car.