Share Button


Mon, Oct 23, 2023 11:00amGrey Clock 3 min

You can save thousands of dollars on a new car by buying at the right time of year.

Typically, the best time to shop for a new car is when the new version of that same vehicle is about to go on sale, so dealerships will want to clear space for the new models. The closer you get to the new model’s arrival date, the more you can save on older models, said Lori Wittman, president of retail solutions for Cox Automotive.

“Savvy buyers who time their purchases around redesign releases, year-end clearances, tax season or other demand shifts can secure substantial savings,” said Zach Klempf, chief executive of Selly Automotive, a San Francisco-based software company.

This guide explains which weeks to mark on your calendar if you’re shopping for discounts on a car, and why these strategies hold true year after year.

  • What are the best months to start car shopping?
  • When are the best times of year to get a deal on a car?
  • What are the best months for buying electric vehicles (EV)?
  • If there is one best day of the year to buy a car…

What are the best months to start car shopping?

If buying the latest model or a specific color or trim isn’t a top concern, start car shopping in August.

Car buying is not unlike buying an iPhone: When new iPhones are released, old models will drop in price. Cars take up a lot more space than an iPhone, though, so dealerships tend to start discounting in the summer—a few months before new models arrive—to clear out inventory.

“Traditionally, automakers retool their factories for the new models in the summer, so that makes August, September and October a good time to shop for an earlier model,” said Wittman.

Look for cash-back programs and other incentives as manufacturers start clearing out their inventory, said Klempf.

“We’re currently seeing incentives return with strong interest rates and deep discounts on 2023 inventory,” said Wittman.

Start paying attention in the fall, from September to December. New models are typically released in the fall of the preceding year, with 2024 models announced in the fall 2023 and start arriving in October. For new car models released in the fall, dealerships will typically have units on-hand for same-day delivery.

When are the best times of year to get a deal on a car?

Big holiday “sales” at dealerships—think Memorial Day and Labor Day—are more of a marketing gimmick than an actual chance for deep discounts, according to Nathan MacAlpine, the founder of CarMate, a Los Angeles-based car brokership.

For used cars, MacAlpine said tax season, from early April to early May, is a sweet spot for buyers. When people get their tax refund back in the spring, a lot of them go car shopping. Dealerships compete for customers by offering deals.

“Just after tax time, I always find it’s busy on my end of selling cars, which means there are more discounts,” said MacAlpine.

What are the best months for buying electric vehicles (EV)?

EV sales are seasonal, too. The months leading up to the end of the year tend to be a popular time for EV buyers who want to take advantage of tax benefits before they expire, said Klempf.

Next year, this will be less of a problem: EV buyers will get up to $7,500 off the purchase right at the dealership, rather than wait months until filing their tax return to get the credit.

If there is one best day of the year to buy a car…

To time your car purchase for maximum savings, Cox Automotive’s Wittman recommends marking some dates on your calendar.

“The end of the month, the end of a quarter or the end of the year are also good times to find deals on both new and used cars,” said Wittman. Salespeople are under pressure to hit sales quotas at those times to earn bonuses for high sales volume, and they’re more likely to offer discounts to get deals done.

“My personal favorite time to buy a car is on the last day of a calendar year, in the evening,” said Klempf of Selly Automotive.

He personally helped family members secure end-of-year deals on Toyota vehicles, such as a gold-colored Camry, a hue that wasn’t in high demand. “We managed to negotiate a discount of nearly 20% on the car,” he said of the purchase, which was made near close of business in December. The dealership explicitly told them that they were striving to hit their sales quota.


What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

Related Stories
Ozempic Fuels Hunt for Smaller Clothes
By SUZANNE KAPNER 17/06/2024
I.M. Pei’s Son Speaks of His Father’s Legacy of Creating ‘Places for People’ Ahead of a Retrospective in Hong Kong
By ABBY SCHULTZ 12/06/2024
EV Trade War Could Spread to Luxury Cars
By STEPHEN WILMOT 12/06/2024

Retailers see nascent sales boost fuelled by people switching to smaller sizes; ‘not something we’ve seen before’

Mon, Jun 17, 2024 4 min

Apparel retailers are discovering that weight loss is their gain.

While blockbuster drugs like Ozempic that lead to significant weight loss have dented demand for diet plans and caused food companies to prepare for people eating less, clothing sellers are finding that millions of slimmed-down Americans want to buy new clothes.

The newly svelte aren’t just restocking their wardrobes, many are also gravitating to more body-hugging shapes and risqué designs, according to industry executives and shoppers. Some brands are responding by replacing zippers with adjustable corsets and adding more sheer looks.

The nascent downsizing is happening across brands and types of garments. Industry executives said that they can’t be certain weight-loss medicine is the cause, but added that the shift is unlike anything they have seen. It is also an about-face from recent years, when many retailers rushed to add larger sizes to accommodate Americans’ growing girth.

About 5% of Lafayette 148’s customers are buying new outfits because they have lost weight, often replacing their size 12 clothes with size 6 or 8, according to Deirdre Quinn , the brand’s chief executive. The benefit is twofold; in addition to boosting sales, Lafayette 148 is saving money because smaller sizes use less fabric, Quinn said.

More customers of clothing rental company Rent the Runway are switching to smaller sizes than at any time in the past 15 years, said Jennifer Hyman , co-founder and CEO. These customers are also showing more of a willingness to experiment with different styles such as cutouts and other body-baring features. “When you are more comfortable in your skin, you are more willing to try edgier looks,” she said.

For Maggie Rezek, getting dressed used to be about hiding her extra weight in oversize shirts and baggy pants. Since she lost 60 pounds on semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, the 32-year-old, who handles marketing for a beauty salon, has splurged on a new wardrobe. Now, her staples consist of crop tops and jean shorts. She has traded in her sneakers for kitten heels. She even documents her outfits on social media.

“Before, I was insecure about my body,” said Rezek, who lives in Indianapolis. “Now, I feel like I fit better in clothes. That gives me the confidence to dress up and be more stylish.”

Some 15.5 million people, or 6% of U.S. adults, say they have tried injectable weight loss drugs to slim down, according to a survey of more than 5,500 Americans conducted in March by polling company Gallup. Nearly three-quarters of current users said the drugs—a class known as GLP-1 that were originally developed to treat diabetes—are effective or extremely effective in helping them shed pounds.

Weight-loss drugs don’t work for everyone and the cost can sometimes exceed $1,000 a month, limiting the market. The full price isn’t always covered by insurance. Moreover, people struggle to keep the weight off once they stop using the drugs.

Still, some companies expect the market for these drugs will be big enough that they are shifting course. WW International , formerly known as Weight Watchers, acquired a subscription service that offers telehealth visits with doctors who can prescribe drugs like Ozempic. Nestlé is introducing a new food line this year designed for people taking weight-loss medication.

Clothing companies could use a boost. Apparel sales fell 4% in the 12 months that ended in April compared with the same period a year earlier, according to market research firm Circana, as people give priority to their spending on necessities.

Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, Amarra, which sells evening gowns and other formal wear in 800 retailers in the U.S., Canada and Australia, saw increased demand for larger sizes. Now, that trend has reversed.

“Over the past year, our retailers have been telling us they need smaller sizes,” said Abhi Madan, Amarra’s co-founder and creative director. Amarra, which is based in Freehold, N.J., has added sizes as small as 000. He says he is also selling more sizes in the 0-8 range and fewer in the plus-size range of 18-24.

Madan said the shift is changing the way Amarra designs dresses. It is replacing zippers with lace-up corsets, which can more easily accommodate shifting weights because the laces can be tightened or loosened. It is also adding more sheer side panels that give a figure-hugging look.

AllStar Logo, which sells polo shirts, fleece jackets and other gear to large companies, has seen demand for its largest sizes fall by half over the past year, according to Edmond Moss , its sales director.

“We used to sell a lot of fleece jackets in extra, extra large,” Moss said. “Now everything has gone down by at least one size.”

Sales of the three largest sizes of women’s button-down shirts fell 10.9% in the first three months of 2024 compared with the same period in 2022 at a dozen brands, according to Impact Analytics, which helps retailers manage their inventory and size allocations.

Sales of those same button-down shirts in the three smallest sizes grew 12.1% over that period. Impact Analytics analysed purchases in physical stores located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It focused its research on this area because it has the highest concentration of individuals in New York City taking these drugs specifically for weight loss, according to market research firm Trilliant Health.

A similar trend played out for women’s dresses and sweaters, as well as men’s polo shirts, sweatshirts and T-shirts, according to Impact Analytics.

Prashant Agrawal , Impact Analytics’ founder and CEO, said it wasn’t possible to know if the size changes resulted from people losing weight or a shift in clothing styles, but added that such a pronounced shift is unusual. “It’s not something we’ve seen before,” he said.

Some executives are worried that the shift could reduce demand for plus-size clothes.

“I’m trying to figure out what we have to worry about in the future,” said Doug Wood , the chief executive of clothing retailer Tommy Bahama, noting that as more people lose weight it could hurt sales of its “Big & Tall” collection designed for very large men.

Jillian Sterba went from a size 6 to a size 10 after the birth of her child. When the weight didn’t come off with diet and exercise, she started injections of semaglutide in October. Since then, Sterba, who is 36 and lives in Austin, has lost 35 pounds. She is now a size 4. “Almost half my clothes are not wearable,” she said.

She bought new jeans, tops, bras and underwear. “I had been wearing flowy tops before but now I’m wearing fitted shirts,” she said. Still, Sterba said she is keeping 80% of her old clothes just in case she gains back the weight.