The automotive industry is big business. According to the Statista Research Department, roughly 79 million cars and light trucks are expected to be sold worldwide by the end of 2019. 

When buying or selling a vehicle, many people wonder if there is a particularly advantageous time to buy or sell. The best time to sell is not necessarily the best time to buy, which can present problems for vehicle owners who need to sell their current cars in order to afford new ones. Industry insiders offer their input on key times to move vehicles.


When to sell

Cars depreciate quite a bit the moment they move off of the lot. Most lose upwards of 20 percent of their value within the first year, according to Edmunds, a leading automotive information company and pricing index. Certain things contribute to depreciation, including mileage, type of driving and whether the car was maintained or not.

Sometimes the best times for a person to sell are when it no longer is financially prudent to keep the vehicle. For some, this may mean when the bumper-to-bumper warranty expires or if mileage starts to tick up, adversely affecting resale value.

The time of year to sell that is most favorable is between the months of March through August, offers U.S. News and World Report. When temperatures start to climb, people begin thinking about warm-weather and getting outdoors. This is a time of year when tax refunds are issued, and it is far enough away from the holidays to make big purchases more affordable.


When to buy

Kelley Blue Book® says that most dealerships do their biggest “wheeling and dealing” toward the end of the calendar year. November and December are some of their most profitable months, and consumers who are able to budget for a new vehicle at this time of year can get great prices. Dealers want to carry over as little inventory as possible into the new year, so some are motivated to negotiate more on the current year models, enabling them to make room for new inventory and meet existing sales projections.

The financial resource Bankrate says the day of the week one chooses to buy also may be something to consider. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are slow days at many dealerships, which may make negotiating a deal easier. Shopping holiday sales, such as those on Black Friday or New Year’s Eve, also can help consumers earn better deals.

Timing is everything in the vehicle market. Learn the best times to buy or sell a vehicle and reap the rewards.

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