As we enter the last couple months of the year, and before many people start preparing for the busyness of the holiday season—including decorating, cooking and baking, buying gifts—adding “buy a new car” to your to-do list may seem like a hassle. But in fact, car shopping at the end of the year could be worth your while.

Driving a Hard Bargain in December

Most auto dealers have end-of-the-month and end-of-the-quarter quotas to meet. So shopping toward the end of those periods—like late in November or December—often means they’re more willing to deal.

In addition, dealers generally have annual sales goals. Meeting their goal by the end of the year can have an impact on potential year-end bonuses, plus influence how much inventory dealers will receive from the vehicle manufacturer the following year. So, they may be even more driven to cut prices in order to move cars off the lot late in the year. In fact, dealers tend to offer the deepest discounts—averaging 7.7 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price—in December.*

Maximize your end-of-year car-buying power and take home a new car bargain for the holidays with these tips:

1) Do some pre-shopping research.

Check prices at several dealerships and online to make sure you have a good idea of what the vehicle should cost. Also, while you’re researching vehicle prices online, check out Navy Federal’s Auto Buying Program where you’ll find up-front, guaranteed pricing on a wide selection of new and used vehicles from participating dealers. MakingCents from Navy Federal can help you get a clear understanding of the car-buying process, including smart consumer tips on how to get the best value, financing your new ride and things to keep in mind after the purchase.

2) Shop on a miserable day.

If it’s cold, snowy or rainy, there may be few potential buyers on the lot. Plus, dealers may be anxious to make a deal and go home.

3) Show up at the end of the day.

The dealer may be eager to chalk up one more sale before the day is over, especially if it’s been a slow sales day.

4) Ask for additional discounts.

Some dealers offer extra money off for servicemembers, seniors or students. Also find out if there are any manufacturer’s rebates you may be eligible for, after you negotiate your best price.

5) Request some freebies.

If the dealer has already given its best price, you could always request they throw in floor mats, side-door molding or other extras at no cost. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Speed Up the Sale With Pre-approval

Being pre-qualified by a trusted financial resource like Navy Federal means you know exactly how much car you can afford, so you can go to the dealership knowing your limit. That’s a great help in resisting sales pressure. Plus, being pre-qualified may increase your bargaining power because you can focus on getting the best price and not getting distracted by applying for dealer financing.

Getting pre-qualified for a Navy Federal new car loan can help make new car buying easier, especially since life can get busy at the end of the year. It’s quick and easy for members to apply online, or call us anytime at 1 888-842-6328.