At certain times of the year, dealers can find themselves with a lot of used cars in stock that they want to shift. This is usually in September and March, just after new number plate formats are introduced, which is when lots of people tend to part exchange their old cars for new ones.
In the run up to the plate changes – in August and February – dealers often also clear out old stock in expectation of a forthcoming flood of cars. With limited space on the forecourt, they’ll often take a lower price to clear some real estate.
However, it can often pay to shop during the quieter periods, too, as dealers will be keen to take some money to hit their target. August and February is again a good time for this, as many people will be delaying their purchase to get a car with a new plate. As another example, not that many people are focused on buying new cars at Christmas, so trying to do a deal in December or January can be a smart move.
With most dealers trying to meet or beat targets, try to shop when they’re near the end of a period. Try a Friday (when they’re likely to be quiet, anyway), towards the end of a month, or near the end of a quarter.