Drive news services and staff
Car shoppers can add doorbuster bargains to their list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
According to experts at Edmunds, a leading car-shopping and information platform, car shoppers will find some of the best deals in years on new vehicles this Black Friday.
“Incentives reached near-record levels in October, so we expect automakers to continue to sweeten savings as the year winds down,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company. “With slower sales of 2017 model year vehicles, automakers and dealers are more likely to leverage fully the Black Friday holiday as an opportunity to thin bloated inventories to make room for 2018 models.”
Edmunds research shows that Black Friday is one of the biggest car-shopping holidays of the year, accounting for 15 percent of total November car sales. But this also means buyers looking to take advantage of these savings need to be ready to fight the crowds: dealership traffic roughly doubles during these big holiday sales weekends.
To help buyers take advantage of the bargains and avoid spending their entire holiday weekend at the dealership, Edmunds created an insider guide on how shoppers can make the most of their time and money this Black Friday:
• Get a head start on research: Maximize your time by gathering as much information as you can beforehand. Look for rebates and incentives in advance to get a good baseline for comparing deals. Call to check inventory and get price quotes — and call competing dealers to ask them to beat the deal you have in hand.
• Schedule an early test drive: If your schedule permits, test-drive vehicles in advance of the holiday weekend. If that’s not possible, schedule a test drive as early as possible on the morning of Black Friday to beat the crowds.
• Sort out your paperwork beforehand: Call the dealership and see what paperwork you can complete online or from home. Before heading into the dealership, make sure you have in hand all your necessary documents, such as your driver’s license, insurance information and loan paperwork.
• Read the fine print: When you’re looking at a deal, make sure you’re talking about out-the-door terms, including interest rates, sales tax and car fees. You can always negotiate the car’s price more aggressively to offset other components of the deal.
“By the time Black Friday rolls around, you should already know what car you can afford, whether you are leasing or buying, and have narrowed your list to about three models at most,” said Matt Jones, car salesman turned Edmunds senior consumer advice editor.
“Finally, when you’re at the dealership, make sure you ask your salesperson if you’re getting all of the incentives available on the car,” Jones said. “Sometimes they’re not advertised, and if you don’t ask, the salesperson isn’t necessarily obligated to bring them up — which would be a huge miss given the deals we’re expecting to see this holiday season.”
Not surprisingly, First Coast dealerships are anticipating a busy weekend.
“Most manufacturers had already begun promoting their individual Thanksgiving/holiday/Black Friday events earlier in the month, so we’re expecting a very active Thanksgiving weekend,” Jackie Lynch, Jacksonville Automobile Dealers Association president, said Wednesday.
“With the promotions being released so early, most customers have had time to digest what is available in the market and will have made a decision on what they’d like to own,” said Lynch, who’s also general manager at Nimnicht Buick GMC.
Another automotive site, Cars.com, also encourages car shoppers to visit showrooms on Friday.
“Black Friday is certainly a great time to go car shopping, and with Cars.com’s suite of pricing tools, it’s easier than ever to find great deals before heading to the dealership,” said Jennifer Newman, Cars.com’s editor-in-chief. “We’re seeing solid incentives from a number of different manufacturers. If you are already in the market for a new car, you might want to consider hitting your local dealership lots this Black Friday instead of waiting in long lines at your nearest big-box store. From the data we’ve seen, the reward is there for certain vehicles.”