When Is the Best Time to Buy a Brand New Car?

The new car models are here! The new car models are here!

Steve Martin’s character of Navin R. Johnson in the movie “The Jerk” wasn’t excited about the arrival of new car models, but about phone books (remember when those were a thing?). But if he were to get that excited about the arrival of new car models, when should that be?

New car models tend to arrive at dealers in the early fall, and the old aphorism “get ‘em in, get ‘em out” applies. But before the new models can come in, the models from the previous year need to get moved out. If a new car has a shelf life, that shelf life can expire sometime in September.


On the one hand, the new models have new features and new designs. And all that comes with a correlated higher price tag, as well. The color you might want (let’s say a sporty red) might also appeal to someone else who wants that color too, but is willing to wait until the fall for a more motivated dealer’s price.


It’s a classic case of you can have whatever you’re willing to pay for, as long as it’s there to be had in the first place. The sooner you buy when the new models come out, the more likely you’ll get what you’re after. But if price is the main concern—and doesn’t it always seem to be the case?—then waiting around for a few months to go by is a wise decision.


The old saying holds that timing is everything. Or, as Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis rephrased it, “life is about timing.” When is the best time to buy a new car? It depends on if you want. If you want what you want when you want it, and are able to spend whatever it takes to get it, then, by all means, get a new car in the late summertime, when the new models start to appear. But patience is a virtue, and waiting until later in the year can bring its own rewards, too.