The July-October time period historically was the best time to buy many new vehicles because it was the end of one model year and the start of another. That meant if you were willing to buy one of last year's models you could take advantage of manufacturers' incentives and additional dealer discounts as both tried to clear out old stock and make room for the new.
That is still true to some extent today, though the traditional (but unofficial) Oct. 1 starting date for the new model year is no longer the big event it used to be. The 2014 models that come out around that time this year will mainly be carryover models that have only minor, if any, changes from 2013.
Instead, the really new vehicles — redesigned models such as the 2014 Mazda6 or 2014 Subaru Forester or the all-new 2014 Kia Cadenza — arrive whenever they're ready, and that can be any time between Jan. 1 (the earliest manufacturers could sell 2014 models) and Dec. 31 of this year.
By the time the 2014s go on sale, most 2013s may be gone because manufacturers try hard to control inventory so there isn't a glut. If they've succeeded, the discounts might not be as big as you hoped. For instance, the 2014 Subaru Forester is on sale, but the only consumer incentives advertised on 2013 models are zero-percent financing or special lease deals. Dealers may be getting additional incentives to lower their prices, but we aren't seeing fire sales for either.
Here are other examples of current discounts:
Chevrolet will introduce the redesigned 2014 Silverado pickup this summer, so it currently has offers of $2,000 to $4,500 rebates or zero-percent financing for 60 months on 2013 Silverado 1500 models. Likewise, a redesigned Toyota Tundra is due later this year, so the 2013s are available with rebates from $2,500 to $2,750. Will the rebates get bigger later this year? Perhaps, but the supply of 2013 models will dwindle, so you may not be able to find the model, features or color you want.
Ford is not coming out with a redesigned F-150 this year, but it doesn't want to lose ground to Chevy and Toyota, so it also has generous discounts, advertising rebates and bonuses that can add up $6,250 on certain pickup truck models.
You can wait until late summer or early fall in hopes that the deals get sweeter, but the supply may be limited to the leftovers that earlier buyers rejected. In some cases, the sales might even be over.
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