Car Shopping on Black Friday

We’ve all seen the video footage of hordes of anxious shoppers trampling the less agile among their numbers as they clamor to get that “supplies are limited” deal on a big-screen TV, refrigerator, or washer/dryer combination.

Pricing big-ticket items at a ridiculously low figure has been proven to set store’s doors to swinging. Always looking for an edge, car dealers have gotten in on the act too. However, selling cars is a bit different, which makes it reasonable to ask if there really are terrific deals to be had if you go car shopping on Black Friday?

There Are Deals, But—

According to Edmunds.com, Black Friday weekends represent somewhere around 14 percent of the average dealership’s monthly November sales totals. This suggests that while the sale might have brought more people into the store, there was no real buying frenzy. This is largely because the end of the month is the end of the month, whether it’s November or July — for the most part.

In other words, people looking to buy a car will usually find the same discounts on Black Friday they’d find at the end of any other month in the year — with one key exception.

November, falling toward the end of the year as it does, means there will be deals on current model cars dealers have in stock because they’re going to need that space for the next model year’s cars that have already started coming in.

Simply put, don’t get anxious, that good deal will be there the next day too.

If You’re Going to Go Anyway

Traffic does pick up in dealerships on that day, as it does most weekends. Here’s what you need to do if you’re bound and determined to buy a car on that date,

  1. Do your shopping in advance. Know what you’re going to get before you get there, having made sure the dealer has it in stock (use their website to check inventories). This includes having already done your research to know it’s the car you need and test-driven it too, so you know you the vehicle will do everything you need.
  2. Get pre-approved for your car loan. Having done your research, you know what the car should sell for and you’ll be better able to determine if the deal is a good one. This also enables you to get pre-approved for the amount of money you’ll need to finance the purchase. Review your credit report before applying and your credit score as well. This way, you’ll know you’re getting the best possible interest rate.
  3. Have all the necessary documentation in hand. You’ll need your driver’s license, proof of insurance coverage, and your pre-approved financing agreement. Keep in mind Black Friday is the day after a huge holiday, so insurance companies and finance companies are likely to be closed. You can’t rely on making a call from the dealership and getting the documentation.
  4. Get there early and be prepared to be there for a while. The dealership will be busy and its salespeople are going to be going from one customer to another in rapid succession. The more you do to be ready ahead of time the shorter your stay at the dealership will be. Moreover, getting there early helps ensure the car you saw on the website the night before will still be there when you arrive.

Car shopping on Black Friday really isn’t necessary to get a good deal. But if you decide to go just the same, this information will help make the experience tolerable and more importantly — successful.

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