Used Car Sales - Every Day is a Holiday

As we approach cooler weather, with used cars still a hot commodity, will the market experience the traditional ebb and flow through the holiday season? The used car industry has enjoyed an unprecedented demand in the last 18 months and continues to thrive. Given the ongoing saga and severe economic impact of the shortage, consumers opt for used vehicles, fueling the churn of higher wholesale and retail pricing, holiday or no holiday. This latest spike pushed used-car prices to 24.9% above September 2020 and a whopping 41.9% above March 2020 levels, according to Manheim's index.

In September, automakers sold just under 1 million Light Vehicles, down by 25% Year-over-Year (YoY). That’s a staggering and unfortunate number. Just as used car prices were beginning to tick down and level out in late summer, we are faced with numbers from the new car segment that confirm the shortage continues to drive the U.S. and global automotive markets.

These shifting dynamics brought on by the pandemic still don’t change the fact that automotive has two peak seasons, spring and fall. We are half -way through the fall buying season. A recent report from Investopedia noted: “The two peak seasons for auto sales occur during the spring, from March through the end of May, and from September through November. During these periods of peak demand, cars' average sale prices can rise by 10% to 15%.” Let’s look into how that tradition will continue this year.

Each year at this time a large number of consumers get the itch for a new car. It turns out, some holidays are better than others when it comes to deal-making. iSeeCars reports on the best holidays to buy a used car. Veteran’s Day is rapidly approaching. And, according to a recent report from iSeeCars, customers will find 11.9% more deals on that holiday than the standard deals. This is a great time to purchase, particularly now that new and used inventories of certain vehicles remain tight.

Three-day holiday weekends are always a popular time for the dealers to offer incentives for customers to come out on their extra day off. It also serves to spread the unit sales to a Monday, which, according to AutoTrader, is the best day of the week to buy a car. This is true for both new and used cars. In fact, if you’re able, weekday car shopping is always a good idea, on a non-holiday week. The dealerships are less busy which will make for a more relaxed experience and possibly a bit more time with the sales consultant to understand your needs and management to have the extra incentive to make the deal.

Though the first fall holiday sale weekend is good, according to the iSeeCars report, New Year’s Eve is still the best holiday to buy a car in 2021. You’ll see a 20.5% increase in used car deals over the average. While Christmas Eve ranks closely behind with 18.1% more deals than average.

Both dealers and the public are ‘trained’ for holiday deal-making, the trend will likely continue, even amid an already aggressive market. As some delayed new car models are beginning to show up on the lots, that means more new car sales, which drives trade-ins (more to choose from) and therefore increases used car sales.

If you’re just now beginning to consider the purchase of a vehicle, especially a used one, you may want to visit a dealer or two and check out the inventory of the specific model you want. Even if they don’t have it now, there’s a good chance they may have it soon with the increased trade cycle of the fall season. And you’ll want to be sure to be on their list when your dream car, truck or SUV comes in.

The stealth and proactive buyers capture the vehicle they want. Even though used car prices remain at an increased level, it pays to be the early bird when a vehicle arrives on the lot. This is where a good Sales Consultant comes in handy. They will contact their customers when they know a particular trade is coming in. Some independent car dealers will even shop for specific cars for their customers. So holiday or not, it’s a great time to treat yourself to a previously-loved vehicle you can take delivery of now.

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