If you were hoping for a car key presented in a beautifully wrapped box this holiday season and found yourself disappointed, don't fret. The end of the year is the best time to buy a car, according to numerous auto industry analysts.
A quick visit to any auto manufacturer website or car dealer ad in your local newspaper will show that the deals abound at both the national and local levels. With less than one week left to log auto sales in 2011, both automakers and dealers are anxious to boost their year-end numbers and are ready to play "let's make a deal" with car shoppers.
Of the top 10 holiday car deals for 2011 that analysts at Kelley Blue Book have identified, eight of the models have a "bottom-line" price of less than $25,000. Deals aren't just on new cars either. Both franchise dealers and independent dealers are also ready to make deals on used cars. The average price of used cars 5-years-old or newer has dropped 4.1 percent since September, with some cars dropping 10 percent or more during that time frame, according to CarGurus.com. The site's deal-finder tool offers car shoppers guidance on deals for specific models locally when they enter a zip code.
While TrueCar.com reported that the very best day to get deals, Black Friday, has already passed, the second best day of 2011 is New Year's Eve. Its data also indicates that today, as well as December 29 and 30 are excellent days to get deals with discounts averaging more than 8 percent.
While the deals abound, remember that no dealers will wheel and deal in the same way, so it pays to shop around. And despite the deals, don't forget to shop smart for the car itself, as well as the car loan. Check out this article for a complete list of car shopping tips.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.