Black Friday is the most famous holiday that isn’t a legal holiday. This special day always immediately comes after Thanksgiving and is the traditional first day for Christmas shopping.
It also was once the day that retailers could count on going into the “black” for the year — representing the color of the ink used on old-time ledgers to signify profitability. Thus, the Black Friday name has stuck.
Brave consumers see Black Friday as a day that involves rising at 3 a.m. to do battle with perfect strangers over a limited number of discounted 60-inch plasma TVs or the latest gaming console. However, car shoppers who are not interested in getting trampled at the mall don’t need to go to such extremes, since the lure of Black Friday car deals does not require getting up at the crack of dawn to negotiate.
In recent years, media focus on low traffic in new and used car showrooms on Black Friday has contributed to an increasing number of consumers looking for deals. Some analysts have added fuel to the fire, contending that the best car deals of the year can be had on Black Friday as desperate car dealers cut prices in a bid to boost lagging sales.
That desperation, real or imagined, may not lead to Black Friday used car deals or extra incentives. With numerous other consumers avoiding the malls, dealer showrooms should have no lack of traffic.
Fortunately, you can score a used car deal at the end of the month, regardless of whether you do it on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Here’s how to save yourself hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars on a used car.
1. Do your research now. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving night when the turkey has you feeling sleepy to decide to buy a car the next day. Instead, you should know precisely the make, model and model year of the car you want as well as the equipment you require. Begin your research before you begin shopping.
2. Search at home. There are several places you can look for a particular used car. Visiting local dealer websites and reviewing inventory is a start. Here, you can easily search dealer supplies, identify the vehicles that fit your criteria, and then bookmark those pages. You can also search CARFAX Used Car Listings if you are looking for a late-model used car. The advantage here is that only cars with a CARFAX Vehicle History Report are listed, which is a great way to learn if a car has been in an accident. It will also allow you to discover the number of owners and obtain an odometer reading among other facts.
3. Reach out to the dealership. If you see a car that interests you, contact the dealership to arrange a test drive. Typically, if you make contact online, the dealer’s Internet sales team will connect you with a salesperson. Then, explain to the salesperson which vehicle interests you and when you would like to visit the dealership for a test drive. Next, meet with the salesperson and obtain full details about the car, including its cost, then put the car through the paces. Specifically, drive the vehicle with the stereo or infotainment system turned off. Cover local and back roads alike before thoroughly inspecting the vehicle inside and out. Check all power-operated equipment to learn how these features work. Receive an updated vehicle history report and have all open repair items fixed before you agree to a deal.
4. Know your numbers. The car will have a sticker price, but most likely it is also negotiable. Just as car dealers discount new cars, you should have room to negotiate the price on a used car, including a certified pre-owned (CPO) model. As for CPOs, ask the salesperson about special financing and other deals offered by the manufacturer. You can also review our own carefully researched deals for the month. Mainstream brands such as Chevrolet, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and Volkswagen have specials going on right now. You’ll also find incentives on luxury brands like Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz.
5. Manage your time and expectations. It isn’t uncommon that you’ll spend several hours, or even the better part of the day, in a car showroom in a bid to obtain the best deal on a used car. At the same time, if the salesperson isn’t giving you much ground, you can just as easily end the negotiation and shop elsewhere. The best time to purchase a car is when you absolutely do not need to buy one. Keep in mind that suffering from hunger pangs can cause you to give in quickly, so eat a meal before visiting the showroom.
Black Friday Used Car Deals
If Black Friday used car deals seem especially generous, there are two other factors at play also:
1. The model year and the calendar year are coming to an end. Although the best discounts seem typically associated with new cars, dealers want to clear their used vehicle lots as well. Higher traffic volume means dealers see an increased chance of more sales.
2. Black Friday occurs near the end of the month. As the month draws to a close, car dealers must meet manufacturer and in-house quotas for new and used vehicle inventory alike. You won’t know what those quotas are, but you can believe your salesperson sees you as someone who can help him or her reach a personal goal. Indeed, you just might be the customer who helps the salesperson reach an important threshold, one that could lead to a bonus just in time for the holiday season.
To sum up, Black Friday deals can be had before and after Thanksgiving. Your personal research will help you identify the vehicle you want and allow you to obtain pricing ranges from websites that provide that information. Armed with hard data and the resolve to negotiate a favorable deal, you may soon find yourself behind the wheel of the very car you sought to purchase.