Black Friday car deals are legendary. However, with COVID-19 having upset the car-buying applecart, the rules of the game have changed a bit. Popular vehicles like some pickup trucks, the Kia Telluride, and the Toyota RAV4 Prime are in short supply. Here are seven tips provided by TrueCar’s car shopping expert and director of industry education, Matt Joneson on how to find the best deal this Black Friday.
1) Start early. Find the best deals by starting your research early. Because plant closures earlier this year halted vehicle production, inventory may be tight. It’s a good idea to come up with second and third options, in case there is low inventory of your first choice.
2) Trading in or selling an existing vehicle? Decide whether you’re planning to sell or trade your vehicle. You’ll need to get an appraisal, and you can use Online tools such as TrueCar Trade. You can even get your appraisal at home. About 50 percent of shoppers trade in a car when buying something new. If you’re one of these 50 percent, make sure you get your appraisal early.
3) Understand the auto market. This year, it really pays to understand the current automotive climate and pricing. For some hot vehicles with low inventory and high demand in this climate, paying sticker price might be considered a good deal. If you are looking for a specific vehicle and if that vehicle is new or in short supply, it might be sold at or even above sticker price. For example, the RAV4 Prime is a vehicle with high demand and low inventory.
4) Being flexible will help you get a better deal. Be willing to consider expanding the distance radius of dealerships for additional options. Being flexible about your search could give you greater inventory options. Don’t want to drive far to get your new car? You may be able to skip the trip to the dealer. More on that in tip 5.
5) Have a game plan. If you want to go to the dealership in person, be sure to arrive early. This is important because as the day wears on, more shoppers will hit the store, which can slow down your shopping process. Alternatively, many dealerships now allow shoppers to do all, or some, of the purchase process online. See if your dealership is offering buy from home. Some of these dealers may be willing to deliver the car right to your driveway.
6) Test-drive early. If you can, get behind the wheel for a test-drive at least a few days ahead of time. The showroom will likely get flooded with shoppers, and salespeople may not be available for test-drives on Black Friday. Make an appointment to test-drive on a weekday, before Thanksgiving.
7) Be patient. Remember to have patience with the sales process. Some dealerships will run out of salespeople or some salespeople may have to juggle more than one customer at a time. This is especially likely this year because many dealerships are running with a slimmer staff than usual due to the pandemic.
One bonus tip we think makes good sense is to start your shopping and research now so you can compare Black Friday deals and see how good a deal you’re really getting.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Top of page image courtesy of True Car.