Are there really “Black Friday car deals?” Each year it seems the Black Friday tradition has started earlier and earlier, with retailers having Black Friday promotions a week before Thanksgiving even happens. What happens this year amidst the global pandemic is anyone’s best guess.
That being said, automakers have tried for years to drum up sales during any holiday, and Black Friday is no exception. You don’t have to look too far to find automaker’s promoting their incentives and offers this holiday season.
This begs the question though, should you take one of these Black Friday car deals, or are you better off waiting until the end of the year to make your car purchase? 2020 is an atypical year for many reasons, and with new and used car prices swinging dramatically over the past few months, it is hard to say when prices will be best for car buyers.
Black Friday car deals vs. end of year car deals
When it comes to negotiating the best car deal possible, there are two major factors to consider; what manufacturer incentives are, and how likely the dealer is to negotiate on their inventory. If you’re thinking about getting a Black Friday car deal, then you need to understand how both are influenced at this time of year.
Within the automotive industry it is well known that end of year sales promotions are typically the strongest of the year. Why? Because most manufacturers are publicly traded companies, and they have to report their earnings quarterly to their shareholders. Even though a lot of manufacturers run on a “fiscal calendar” instead of the traditional calendar year, there is still a lot of weight put into “end of year” numbers, and inevitably thousands upon thousands of corporate employee bonuses are dependent on hitting certain targets.
As we’ve talked about in other guides here on the Your Auto Advocate website, automotive manufacturers are not afraid of a little fraud to hit their annual goals.
*cough cough* BMW *cough cough*
That being said, this isn’t the preferred path to hit sales figures, and believe it or not, automakers prefer to steeply discount their vehicles to sell them to consumers before they fake the fact that they were sold! Novel concept, eh?
Foureyes, a dealership sales enablement software company, has great insight into manufacturer specific discounting. If you visit this page (https://lps.foureyes.io/auto-pricing-trends) you’ll see original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specific discount percentages broken down by model year.
Our recommendation is that you look at this data daily as you’re actively navigating the car buying process. You may not qualify for all of the manufacturer’s incentives, however you can at least time your purchase to align with when they are most aggressive. For most OEMs that will be the end of the year, not Black Friday. The notion that there are Black Friday car deals is really more of a marketing gimmick than actuality.
When are car dealers most likely to negotiate a fair car deal? Black friday, or at the end of the year? The answer to this question is highly variable, and every dealership will be different, but as a rule of thumb, most car dealers will be more likely to negotiate with you on price at the end of the calendar year.
As we’ve talked about in other full-length guides, car dealerships don’t make the bulk of their money from selling cars; they make it from factory incentives when they hit volume goals. There is no time where manufacturer incentives mean more than at the end of the year. Dealership’s can have hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line come December 31st, and a few more car deals could push them over the edge to secure those bonuses.
That being said, dealerships have monthly incentives from their manufacturers as well, and those incentives certainly are in place during the month of November. That’s why it’s impossible to say for certain that every dealer will be more likely to negotiate on price in December vs. November—it depends on where they are in each month relative to their volume based incentives.
With all that in mind, it is important to remember that the basics of negotiating a car deal do not change. If you’re looking to get the best price possible, you’ll want to focus your efforts on vehicles that have been sitting on dealer’s lots for a long time. Just remember that you can always use our Negotiability Score as a guide for which vehicles dealers are more and less likely to negotiate on.
The Market Price Report is 100% free, so please use that as you begin to navigate the car buying process.
What are the best Black Friday car deals for 2020?
This section of our Black Friday car deals guide is solely focused on manufacturer incentives. Like we discussed above, dealer discounts are going to be dependent on each individual dealership’s interest in negotiating with you. Again, that is primarily driven by how close they are to their monthly volume sales goal, and how long a specific vehicle has been on their lot.
When it comes to consumer incentives being offered by manufacturers, our friends at Find The Best Car Price have done a great job aggregating all of the different incentives in one place.
Many manufacturers, such as Kia, Mazda, Toyota, and more are still offering zero percent financing options. We strongly recommend that you consider these manufacturer financing incentives (if you qualify).
Aside from finance incentives, the manufacturer cash incentives are steep for some vehicles, but nothing too spectacular. If you’re in the market for a Nissan Leaf there are cash incentives up to $6,000. 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 has a $6,000 cash incentive as well, and if you’re in the market for a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV, there are $8,500 in cash incentives on the table.
General car buying tips for 2020
We recently wrote about a Your Auto Advocate community member named Clark, who purchased his Jeep Wrangler a few weeks ago. Clark’s story is a great example of navigating the car buying process in 2020, and especially amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Yes, your focus may be on getting the best Black Friday car deals, however it’s important to be like Clark, and understand big-picture trends in the automotive industry before you step foot in a dealership (or more likely email them).
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, used car inventory has been in short supply. If you tune in to our weekly show on YouTube, you know that used car prices have been sky high (but are finally coming back down), and that new car manufacturing was nearly eliminated earlier this year, leading to supply constraints at dealerships right now.
All that being said, know that “knowledge is power,” and that being knowledgeable about the market conditions (especially in 2020 when things are as crazy as they have been), can save you thousands of dollars when you eventually do go to buy your car.