As the year winds to a close, it’s a time filled with families and friends, celebrations … and car shopping. While it may seem crazy to add car shopping to this busy time of year, a Cars.com survey found that nearly 12 percent of survey respondents plan to buy a car before 2018 wraps up. And 76 percent of millennials and 71 percent of Gen Xers plan to head to dealer lots by Dec. 31.
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These shoppers are on to something. While year’s end is always a good time to car shop, it’s a particularly wise move in 2018. Buying now means you’ll lock in a lower interest rate since rates are projected to continue rising in 2019. That’s not the only number predicted to increase in 2019, either: Analysts predict that car prices will continue to move upward in 2019. Buying now means you’re getting that shiny new car for a lower price than you would if you wait until the new year.
Car prices are the great motivators for end-of-year shoppers, with 81 percent of survey respondents saying they’re most concerned about getting a good deal. Cars.com conducted the survey in October, with 728 respondents questioned about their car-shopping plans and preferences for the remainder of 2018.
There are plenty of good deals to be had. A Cars.com analysis found as much as $3,500 off certain models, with the Kia Sorento three-row SUV, Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV and Nissan Rogue compact SUV each carrying attractive incentives right now.
As shoppers dig into the offers, they’re likely to notice that the best deals will be on 2018 cars — especially those with 2019 models already on dealership lots or with a redesigned version coming out soon.
Related: What’s the Best New-Car Deal for December 2018?
Pickup trucks and SUVs continue to win the popularity contest with most shoppers, and for deal-seekers, it’ll be harder to find a lot of money off the price of these vehicles. For price-conscious shoppers, there are deals to be made on cars rather than trucks or SUVs. GM, for instance, is offering employee pricing on its Chevrolet Cruze. When paired with sizable cash allowances, our analysis found shoppers could get up to nearly $5,400 off the MSRP of the sedan or hatchback.
When it comes to finding the best deals near you, download the Cars.com app and use a feature called On the Lot, which helps shoppers find and compare nearby vehicles and their pricing while at the dealership. It’ll help you track down any special offers on that vehicle you’re eyeing.
So, if you’re on the fence in these last days of 2018, head to the dealership with confidence that now is the time to buy a new car for the new year.
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