Months of bitter cold have kept shoppers away from new car lots. No one likes spending time shopping, comparing and sealing deals when temperatures are freezing or below. Now that winter is winding down, car dealers are highly motivated to increase sales and play catch up, resulting in some good deals for new car buyers this spring.
In January, sales were down 3% compared to last year due to record-setting low temperatures and snowfall. President’s Day weekend showed strong sales, which left the industry hopeful for better sales throughout the month Unfortunately, sales were disappointing overall for almost every automaker: GM, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, Volvo and Volkswagen all reported a drop in totals for February, mostly blaming the horrible winter weather.
The one ray of sunshine so far this year has been in the small SUV and AWD vehicles, which are designed and marketed for just the kind of weather we’ve all been braving this past winter. These rugged models are highly desired by many for safe, dependable travel, and Subaru and Jeep have both seen seen a sizable boost in sales (24% and 47% respectively).
Chrysler US sales chief Reid Bigland stated, “The severe weather has been ideally suited for our legendary Jeep 4X4 capability.”
Industry insiders speculated that following January’s snows, deals such as discounts and incentives should be starting immediately, and that a few more weeks of winter weather would only make the deals better, which is exactly what we got here in the U.S. With winter still causing trouble in some areas of the country, being willing to bundle up and visit a dealership could result in amazing deals on new vehicles.
Scott Painter, CEO of TrueCar, an auto research and sales site, says, “If you’re willing to brave the elements, the next 30 to 45 days will be an epic time to buy.” TrueCar reports incentives now being at their highest level since 2010.
Shoppers still need to be careful, according to TrueCar data. Tuesdays are notoriously bad in early March and early April due to managers’ unwillingness to roll out huge incentives early in the month. Shop toward the end of the month for the best deals, when automakers and dealers are striving to meet sales goals.