Money & Career

Buy a car for less

When to invest in a new set of wheels

Folk wisdom holds that August is the best time of year to buy a new car because dealers want to clear off their lots to make room for new models, traditionally released between July and September. But Ken Wood, the Ottawa-based owner of the personal car-brokering service www.carsmadeeasy.com, says consumers won’t find the best deals now. Instead, wait until early January: “Few others are shopping and dealers are most likely to offer incentives, such as lower finance rates or no money down.” Wood adds the greatest savings will be found at GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, but the amount will depend on the vehicle. The mark-up on a Ford Focus that costs $20,000 may be $1,500 or less. On a $60,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee however, a dealer mark-up of up to $5,000 provides more wiggle room for haggling. But the constant demand for some cars, such as Toyotas, Hondas and BMWs, means there is never an optimum time to buy. “If a vehicle is in short supply,” says Grant Yoxon, managing editor at www.canadiandriver.com, “there’s just no incentive to offer a discount.”

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