Published on Thursday, 15 December 2011
Sandy Liguori - Tada President 2011-2012
Readers may have noticed the deluge of new car advertising in newspapers and online over the past month or so.
Auto manufacturers and new car dealers have been aggressively promoting “year-end clearance sales,” “reduced financing rates,” “special contests,” “clunker programs” and various other incentives.
This end-of-year marketing push is a fairly recent phenomenon in the retail auto industry. In the 1980s, new car sales trailed off leading up to, and including, the holidays. Other retailers did gangbuster business during December, but it was typically a slow month for dealers.
That all changed when manufacturers introduced Boxing Day sales. The strategy generated some interest among car buyers, and within a few years the idea of rolling out new car promotions in December caught on.
What began as single-day sales events eventually grew into week-long sales events. Today, many new car dealers extend their Boxing Day/holiday promotions for the entire month of December, and beyond.
Why should consumers consider buying a new car during the holiday season? Doesn’t that conflict with the “spirit of the season?”
Hardly. December is the busiest month of the year for most retailers, and dealerships are excited to be part of this busy shopping period.
Here are five top reasons to buy a new car during the holiday season.
Save money: Car shoppers can save literally thousands of dollars on a new vehicle. Generous cash credits, factory cash rebates, low interest/lease rates and dealer incentives are available on a wide range of brands and models. The competition among brands is fierce in December, and manufacturers are prepared to offer extraordinary deals to earn your business. Study the ads, do your research and compare the savings.
Dealers are motivated: The festive season marks the end of the calendar year for dealers, when bonus money (for salespeople and mangers) and bragging rights are up for grabs. Individual dealers are definitely inclined to offer even better deals so that they hit their monthly and yearly sales quotas. It’s a buyer’s market.
A gift: Giving a loved one a car as a gift would certainly qualify as a generous act. But this type of gesture is not as rare as you might imagine. At our dealerships, we’ve delivered many vehicles that were intended as gifts to spouses, parents and children. Some customers even buy cars during the holidays and designated it as a “gift to the family.”
Winter is tough on vehicles: If the mileage on your current vehicle is creeping up, it could mean you’ll be spending more on repairs and maintenance — especially during the winter. With higher repair and maintenance costs on the horizon, it might make sense to buy a new vehicle now, before the really cold weather sets in. Plus, if an older model car breaks down in mid-winter, it could necessitate the purchase of a new vehicle when dealer/manufacturer incentives are less generous.
Low demand vehicles: In addition to wanting to reach their monthly and yearly sales quotas, dealers are often motivated to sell overstocked vehicles that are in less demand. They may have specific models that have been sitting on their lots for months. The longer these ‘low demand’ vehicles gather dust, the more it costs dealers to keep them. So, if shoppers do their homework and aren’t too fussy about model, options, colour, etc., they could get an even better deal on a new vehicle.
Of course, these five reasons shouldn’t be your sole criteria for deciding whether to buy during the holidays. Other factors, such as affordability, insurance and other costs should also be considered.
But for those who are prepared to buy now, the deals on new vehicles are plentiful and generous. Have fun shopping this holiday season!