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When is the best time to buy a car?

When is the best time to buy a car?

Many Australians are putting off their plans to buy a new car until later. But how can you tell when the time is right to splurge on those new wheels?

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), car sales have declined by 8% over the first four months of 2019. In April 2019, there were 320 fewer car sales per day than in April 2018.

FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber, cited several potential reasons for 2019’s car sales slump, including:

  • downturn in the housing market
  • tightening lending practices
  • environmental factors such as drought and flood
  • the imminent Federal Government election

“With all these elements currently present in the market, it is no surprise that Australian consumers are conservative in their approach to major purchases at the moment.” – Tony Weber

If you’re one of the Australians who has been putting off your car purchase, when is the best time for you to wait for? Some options to consider include:

  • Sale time – It’s common for car dealers to slash prices at the end of financial year, at Christmas time, and on other occasions throughout the year, so consider timing your car loan application so you can be pre-approved in time to take advantage of these sales.
  • End of the week/month – Many car dealers have weekly or monthly sales targets to meet, so if your timing’s right, you may be able to negotiate a more affordable deal.
  • When new models arrive – As new stock comes in, many car yards will discount last year’s models, which you can then snap up.
  • When you can afford a car loan – Borrowing money to buy a car can put pressure on your household budget. Consider using a car loan calculator before you make an application to work out if you can comfortably afford the repayments.
  • When your finances are in order – To help reduce your riskiness as a borrower and improve your car loan application’s chance of approval, make sure you’re earning regular income and try to pay off any credit cards or other outstanding loans you have owing.
  • When your credit score is strong – You can order one free copy of your credit report per year to find out if you have good credit. If it turns out you have bad credit that may affect your car loan application, check your credit history for any errors affecting your score, and contact the parties involved to get them fixed.

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This article was reviewed by Property & Personal Finance Writer Nick Bendel before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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