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What To Know If You’re In The Market For A New Car


For the last three years, consumers in the market for a new or used vehicle have been taken for quite the roller coaster ride. From supply chain issues to chip shortages, record inflation, fluctuating fuel prices, and rising interest rates, it has often felt downright impossible to locate a good deal on a vehicle.
While many consumers have decided to keep their older vehicles for longer while waiting for a more favorable economic landscape, others have bitten the bullet by compromising on a vehicle that may be less than ideal, or paying a higher premium to get behind the wheel of a vehicle they just had to have.

In terms of buying a car in 2023, the good news is that that supply chain issues are dwindling and the pandemic is largely behind us. The bad news is that the lack of good deals on new or used cars is likely to continue through the end of the year, due to elevated demand and the lingering, post-pandemic effects.

These two ongoing challenges will make it hard to find the vehicle you want at the price you want—at the moment you’re ready to drive it off the lot.

New Car

While deals on vehicles may be sparse, financing continues to be an area where consumers can reliably expect to find some savings. Certain manufacturers, like Honda, have been offering lower interest rates on loans for specific makes and models in their line. This is likely to be a tactic many dealerships will use as they try to move vehicles off their lots.

If getting a good deal on financing at a rate 2 – 3% below the national average is more important to you than landing the exact make and model you want, you’re likely to find savings, if you’re willing to look for them.

Although lingering supply chain issues continue to impact vehicle availability, these issues are far better than they were a year ago. This means, as the year continues, you can expect to see more vehicles on lots.

The supply chain issues, which have plagued automakers' attempts to release new vehicles during the past three years, have shifted consumer demand to the used vehicle market. This shift is skyrocketing the average price of a used vehicle. While the average used car price peaked in September 2022, experts say the average used car price is still about 26% above pre-pandemic levels.

Signing for new car

Remember, dealerships will need to make room for their expanding inventories and may be more likely to extend a deal, just to get a vehicle moved and increase space on their lot.

If you can afford to wait until after October to make your vehicle purchase, we recommend you do it. You'll likely be able to take advantage of some end-of-the-year sales as the holidays approach.

If you have your heart set on a certain make and model, then there's a good chance other folks do too. If you just have to have a certain car, expect to pay a premium price and to face an extended wait for delivery.

If saving money and getting a good deal on a vehicle is the most important thing to you, being less picky about specific makes and models will make it much easier for you to save money when you’re ready to buy.

With your new car

The average number of days a vehicle sat on a lot increased from 30 days in November 2021 to 46 days in November 2022. This indicates two things: most lots have a wider selection of vehicles available for immediate purchase; and you'll have a wider selection of vehicle features and amenities. If you're dead set on getting that sedan in your favorite color, you have a much better chance of finding it today than you would have a year ago.

Still, with the automotive industry in flux, the high cost of materials, and demand at a sustained high, you're much more likely to find a vehicle  you want at a reasonable price toward the end of 2023.