When buying a new or used car, the time of year is often overlooked when buyers are making their decisions.
Generally, car sales hit two peaks during the year; unsurprisingly at the time of the plate changes in March and September.
However, the time of year can also affect what cars are popular at the time. For example, convertibles are understandably more popular during the summer months, while 4x4s and in particular SUVs see a large jump in sales during the winter months.
There are also the recent effects from the scrappage scheme, which boosted sales of smaller cars, and the recession, which caused a decline in new car sales as buyers tightened their belts.
The rise and fall of used car sales means there will be periods in the year when demand is low and dealers are offloading their stock at reduced prices or with large discounts.
HPI, the company behind used vehicle checks to prevent clocking and other illegal practises, believes December is an ideal month to find a used car bargain.
“If you look to take a holiday in peak times, you would expect to pay more,” says Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager for HPI. “However, when buying a car, some consumers forget that timing can be just as important.”
HPI insists now is the best time to buy a convertible because demand for 4x4s is high, meaning it will be easier to pick up a bargain.
Johnson added: “There are certain times of the year when you are more likely to drive yourself a bargain. Although it’s tempting to pick up a convertible when the sun is shining, if buyers plan ahead, they can pick up a dream car with a dream price tag to match.”
Not only that, but as the festive season is upon us, many dealers are offering even more incentives to pick up a bargain.
Perrys dealers have offered incentives such as up to £500 worth of shopping vouchers with every new car and even a free Nokia smartphone with all Peugeots purchased as the year ends.
The VAT rate will increase by 2.5 per cent to 20 per cent in 2011. While this could add hundreds of pounds to the value of a car, the savvy buyer will be able to pick up a bargain simply by choosing the right time to buy.