The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidenti­al With -

DE­CEM­BER is cus­tom­ar­ily the best time to buy a new car.

The con­ven­tional wis­dom says deal­ers are ready to do sharp deals as the year ends be­cause they have an­nual sales tar­gets to meet, with hefty bonuses at­tached.

It can some­times make sense for a dealer to sell a car on the lot at be­low cost to col­lect a bonus.

But one se­nior mul­ti­fran­chise dealer we spoke to thinks Jan­uary may be just as good a time, if not bet­ter, to search out a deal.

“I think there are go­ing to be a few more deals avail­able in Jan­uary (than De­cem­ber),” he says.

Blame the anom­aly on the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, which al­lows makers to re­port cars as sold when they don’t have buy­ers.

This leads to a glut of “demon­stra­tor mod­els” the fol­low­ing month. “There’s go­ing to be a whole lot of re­ported stock still avail­able in Jan­uary,” the dealer says.

It will de­pend to an ex­tent on the brand you’re look­ing at — Toy­ota, Hyundai and Mit­subishi are tipped to run big “demo” sales in Jan­uary.

“Some brands are go­ing to have hun­dreds of cars on the grass by then and they’ll have to sup­port the deal­ers,” he says.

He thinks other makers are likely to be dragged into the dis­count war.

“If you don’t have a deal in the small-car mar­ket, for ex­am­ple, you’re go­ing to get clob­bered,” he says.

Nor­mally, buy­ing a “plate clear­ance” model, built in the pre­vi­ous year, hurts you at re­sale time but he be­lieves the Jan­uary sav­ings will be good enough to cover the loss.

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