/ Motoring

When’s the best time to buy a new car?

It’s the time of year when TV and radio adverts are filled with January sale offers, and this extends to the car industry. So is this the best time of year to buy a new car?

While driving into Which? towers after the holiday season, the team’s heard a few cracking car deals on the radio and discovered new-car discounts on manufacturer websites.

For example, you can get an additional £500 off selected Vauxhall models before 7 January; up to £1,000 off the Kia Cee’d before 9 January; and three year’s free servicing on a new VW Golf purchased before 13 January. There’s even £3,000 off the price of a Skoda Fabia while stocks last. And all these offers are available direct from the carmakers via franchised dealerships.

But what’s the reason for these New Year deals? A lot of it is down to the quiet Christmas season for the automotive industry, with manufacturers looking to up sales in this gloomy period between plate changes. That means there are deals to be had, but it’s not necessarily the best time of year to purchase a new set of wheels.

When’s the best time to buy a new car?

So when is the best time to fork out for a new car? Here are five golden rules (plus a bonus rule) to follow:

Buying convertibles: If you’re buying a convertible, you’ll get a better deal in the winter months when they’re not as desirable and in less demand. And the reverse can be said about 4x4s – you’ll get a better deal if you buy in the summer months when the benefits of four-wheel-drive aren’t as important as in the sub-zero winter months.

New car models: When a new model launches or a model gets a face-lift (small updates half-way through a model’s production), it’s the best time to get a deal on the version that’s being replaced. Dealers will be looking to offload existing stock to make way for the latest, most up-to-date, generation car. For example, I’ve just found an deal on a new Mk6 VW Golf with a massive £5,500 saving ahead of the Mk7 Golf arriving in dealers soon.

Outgoing number plates: Wait for the new number plate to arrive on 1 March and 1 September – you’ll be able to get a better discount on a car with the outgoing number plate.

End of quarter deals: Buying on the last few days of each quarter can also bag you a good discount on a new car – dealers will be looking to make up their sales figures and be more willing to throw in extra kit of price reductions to make their quota.

End of the year deals: The same can be said about the final months of the year too, with manufacturers looking to increase unit sales for their end of year reports. This makes them more open to negotiation and haggling.

Which? can help: If you do want to buy a new car, we can help you find a good deal with our online guides to buying a new car and our twice weekly Hot Car Deals.

So, with those tips in mind, do you have any of your own? Do you have any advice on when to buy a new car or how to get the best deal?