It’s fairly well known that car manufacturers advertise extra incentives in December in order to move vehicles and make their annual numbers look strong. In particular, many will offer additional discounts on the limited 2016 inventory remaining in order to clear these out before the end of the year.
What’s less understood is that there can be advantages and disadvantages to buying a current year model at the end of the model year. We’ll explore each of these in greater depth below.
As a general rule, manufacturers offer extra rebates and incentives of their remaining inventory of current year models. These can make the overall price on a 2016 more attractive than that of a comparable 2017 model. However, there are a number of incentives on 2017 models as well and there are often great deals to be had on both model years.
Many brands have been discounting their 2016 inventory since August to clear space for the 2017 models. This means that there are a limited number left by the time December rolls in. In order to take advantage of 2016 model year incentives, you may need to compromise on colors or options. Of course, Cartelligent can help you search statewide inventory to find the car that comes closest to your specifications.
In three to five years a 2016 model will be worth significantly less than an identically equipped 2017 model purchased on the same day with equal mileage. When it’s time to sell the value of the car will be based purely on model year not purchase date and the 2016 model will be considered older than an equivalent 2017. If you plan to drive the car for six years or less, you should consider the trade-in value of the vehicle in the total amount it will cost you.
Of course, if you decide to lease, depreciation is already worked into the residual value of the vehicle and you can compare the 2016 and 2017 models.
If the model you’re looking at has been redesigned for 2017, the newest edition may offer additional features and technology, as well as improved fuel economy. Your Cartelligent agent can help walk you through the differences (if any) between the two models and help you make an informed decision.
Is it better to buy a new 2016 or 2017 in December?
Buying a 2016 vehicle can be a good way to save money if you’re not particular about the specifics of your new car and you plan to drive it for a number of years. If you know exactly what you want or don’t want to drive it for more than six years, you may be better off buying a new 2017. Your Cartelligent agent can help you look at availability and pricing for both so you can decide which makes the most sense for your specific circumstances.