Should I Buy A Car On Black Friday?

There is nothing like shopping on Black Friday. Actually I take that back, surviving a zombie horde that is clawing their way through a store is pretty much like Black Friday shopping. But is it worth fighting the crowds to score a killer deal on your next car?

These dealerships would like you to believe that the only time you an get HUGE SAVINGS, is if you show up on Black Friday. The truth is, almost all of those deals are available throughout the month of November. In fact, you will find great deals well into December. Just keep in mind that all those factory incentives and lease deals reset at the first of the month. So if you plan on shopping in November, you will want to complete your transaction before the end of the month.

If You Don’t Need A Car Don’t Go To The Dealer

I realize that is an obvious statement, but you would be surprised how many people make a purchase they don’t really need just because they think they are getting a great deal. Many dealerships are counting on the fact that a decent chunk of buyers will get sucked in by the advertising and stroll into the showroom to “check out the savings.” Often the buyers that are “just looking” become easy targets to overpay for something they didn’t really need in the first place.

Crowds And Confusion Equals Profit

As to those Black Friday car deals, you should know that the dealerships are going to be crowded that day. This means that it will be more difficult to take a worthwhile test drive, you may wait longer to actually speak to someone and get your questions answered, and getting approved for loans/leases will just add more time to your visit. Dealers are trying to sell as many cars to as many people for as much money as they can. The longer you have to wait the more likely you will just sign the papers and take the deal.

Stay Home And Stay In Control

Remember most of so called “Black Friday” deals are available the entire month of November. So now is the time to start contacting dealerships and gathering quotes. If you call or email a dealer on Black Friday, don’t be surprised if they don’t get back to you right away. They are far more concerned about the customers in front of them, then the ones sitting at home. But home is where you have the advantage, you can see all the numbers in front of you and compare, just be sure to get itemized out-the-door quotes so you know exactly what it will cost.

Preparation And Patience Is Key

If you insist on going to a dealership on Black Friday here are some general tips that should make your purchase a little smoother.

  • Know exactly what you want before you get there. You should have already done some research into the make, model, and equipment you are interested.
  • Locate the car you want using the manufacturer’s webpage or third party sites like Autotrader or Cars.com. Call ahead to confirm availability.
  • Go to pricing sites like TrueCar or Edmunds Price Promise to get a ballpark number to negotiate from. Some vehicles have very large markups, some are fairly minimal. Knowing these numbers will give you an idea on whether or not the dealership’s
  • Try to make an appointment with a specific salesperson. Normally dealerships are pretty slow when they first open, so you may beat the crowds by getting there first thing.
  • Take a solid test drive to make sure the vehicle feels right
  • Put them on a schedule. Give a specific time expectation when asking for information. Say, “I realize you need to get a number from your manager, but I need that within 10 minutes or I will go elsewhere.” They won’t like this, but remember you are in control and you can leave at any time.
  • If you have trade, get a realistic number for what it is worth and never let them play the “we can’t find your trade” game. If a dealership is dumb enough to pull that politely tell them if they cannot locate your property within 5 minutes you will have to call the local police report a stolen car.
  • When looking over the paperwork you don’t have to read every single line, but pay close attention to all the numbers. Use a calculator and do the math, keep an eye out for any fees and charges that were not disclosed or explained to you.
  • Be patient and know that sometimes things do take time to process. Be well fed before you get there and do take advantage of the free coffee, water, snacks etc... You want to be calm and comfortable; this is not a purchase you want to make hastily.

Can you get a great deal on your next car if you shop on Black Friday? Absolutely, but you shouldn’t have to go through a marathon in order to do it. If you are a smart shopper Black Friday should not change your behavior. Keep in mind the purpose of this day whether it be cars or electronics is to get people in the door and sell them as much as possible.

Know what you want, know what you should pay, and plan ahead.

(Image: Shutterstock)

If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.