Black Friday Car Deals: Buy Now or at the End of the Year?

Written by Ray Shefska

My career in the retail automotive business started in 1977. Buying a car doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing, stressful, or painful. Instead it can be confidence inspiring, fun, and convenient. Let me show you how.

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.

Manufacturer incentives

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.

manufacturer incentives from foureyes

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.

Dealer negotiations

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.

Read our complete guide on how to buy a car: How to Buy a Car: A Case Study

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.

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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.

black friday car deals

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).

knowledge is power t shirt

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.

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10 Comments

  1. Scott

    Hi…love your site and YouTube videos ….they have helped me learn about the best way to work with dealerships to get the best price…thank you.
    However, this email isn’t about car buying. It’s about marketing . What you say? Yes, I have a suggestion for you if you don’t mind constructive criticism, lol. Your merch can use updating, specifically the knowledge of power “T” shirts that I have seen pics of. What’s missing is who you are on them. Somewhere on the shirt you should have “yourautoadvocate.com” printed on it. Why wouldn’t you want potentially free advertising from someone wearing your stuff all around town? Perhaps you have reasons you don’t want to have it on your merch? Idk, but I think it’s a good idea to have who will give me the powers of knowledge after seeing the artwork. Otherwise, the statement has no association to you to steer people to your site.
    I hope this helps and most likely you will tell me that you already know about it and have good reasons to leave it off.
    Keep up the good work!
    Thank you
    Scott

    Reply
    • Zach Shefska

      Thanks for this, Scott. You’re right. Maybe in our next collection of designs we’ll implement your advice. Thank you for your support!

      Reply
  2. Jeff T

    Amazing insight into the car buying process. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Reply
  3. Stuart Watts

    Thanks Ray and Zach for all your knowledge that you share with us. If my wife and I can afford it and its feasible for us we’ll go car shopping after Christmas! Also, I second Scott’s great advice above, get yourself out there more people need to hear from you!

    Reply
  4. Tom V

    I really wasn’t in the market for a new car, but your videos have instilled an urge to negotiate a good deal, for a change, with car dealers.

    The videos are light-hearted, educational, and filled with love. Thanks for all of that in these trying times.

    Ohhhh, yes. Is this where I leave my name to be entered into the t-shirt drawing?

    Reply
    • Gabriel A. Ramirez

      Hi Ray , Zach,

      When you say better deals …are you talking extra cash incentives or factory rebates? And if so what kind of deals in price?…..1k or 2k extra off? Compared to?

      Reply
  5. Ray Petted

    Can you show us how to get the “out the door price”. I don’t see it on the website. I went through the process , putting in the Vin number etc. my suggested offer for a 2021 new Forester is $29,363. Now, how do I figure out what the final price will be? Do you add sales tax? Tag and Title etc. What is an approximate out the door price?

    Reply
  6. Gene A Faulkner

    Ray and Zach, you guys provide a great service. I have learned so much watching your videos. I have question if a car has sat on the lot for over 250 days how much of a percentage should I ask off the MSRP. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply

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