August 29, 2011
Once again we approach a milestone in the year that many consider one of the best times to buy a car. Huffington Post and The New York Times called Labor Day the best time to buy a car – period – in 2010. Is the same true this season? After Labor Day many consumers hold off on purchasing a new vehicle until holiday and end of the year sales, making Labor Day weekend an important selling time for any dealer. The rapid recovery many have seen in automotive sales has slowed down for the summer despite sales having been higher in July than the previous year. Labor Day sales need to go above and beyond to make enough of a difference for many major brands. Last year, 0% financing and large amounts of cash back on remaining 2010 models were common. Check out Cars.com’s top 10 deals for Labor Day 2010 here. 0% financing is not as common this year, and many normal specials that will continue through Labor Day seem modest in comparison. Even specials like 0.9% financing that Honda is offering has consumers wary because of the requirements needed before that financing amount is even an option. US News reported that current August specials, many of which are valid past Labor Day, include such deals as “Low-interest financing or cash back on some models” for Buick, GMC, Cadillac, and Chevrolet models, which is not the type of wording for specials that sends consumers racing to showrooms. Credit is also still a huge issue for many consumers. My Carlady has come down hard on expected Labor Day specials and the lack of 2011 models still available for these model year end sales. “Honda, Nissan, and Toyota are still struggling to get some new inventory” after losses from the Japan earthquake, and availability of deals on new 2012 models at this stage will be slim to none. From the consumer perspective, more aggressive specials are necessary if dealers expect to make use of this coming Labor Day weekend.