SANTA MONICA, CA — November 14, 2018 — Black Friday weekend may be the biggest retail sales event of the year, but car shoppers don't have to worry about cutting their Thanksgiving holiday short to score deep discounts, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Though November auto sales hit an all-time high in 2017, only 14 percent of that month's sales actually occurred on Black Friday. This represents a significant drop from 2015, when nearly a fifth of November auto sales occurred on Black Friday.
"Black Friday is a great marketing tool for dealers, but the fact is, car shoppers can score just as great deals just before and even in the weeks after the holiday," said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of industry analysis. "Even though dealers don't have as much excess inventory to move as they did last year, they still have a lot of 2018s to clear out before the end of the year. And unlike last year, we're seeing many more excess SUVs and trucks, which means car shoppers no longer have to settle for something they may not want just to get the best bargain."
To help buyers take advantage of the extra time and plentiful bargains this November, Edmunds editors created an insider guide for shoppers:
- Get a head start from home. Interest rates are steadily rising, so if you're planning on financing, start shopping around to get preapproved for a car loan. Look for rebates and incentives in advance to get a good baseline for comparing deals. Get a value on your trade-in in advance.
- Set up a test drive in advance. You'll want to test-drive a car that's configured the way you want it and ideally in the color you like. That means you'll need to locate that car near you. Use the Edmunds site or app to search for inventory near you. Alternatively, you can check dealership websites to see what cars they have on hand.
- Avoid the dealership on Black Friday weekend, or come early if you must. Now that deals are extended through the entire month of November, it might be easier to use Black Friday weekend to do your research from home and avoid the crowds. However, if the weekend is your only option, beat the rush and set your test-drive appointment for the early morning before the crowd starts settling in. Explain that you'll be making a purchase decision later in the weekend. It sets the expectations and should reduce a bit of the pressure.
- Complete as much paperwork as possible in advance. If you're ready to close the deal, call the dealership and see what paperwork you can complete online or from home. Before heading into the dealership, make sure you have in hand all your necessary documents, such as your driver's license, insurance information and loan paperwork.
- Review the contract. In the finance and insurance office, make sure the dealer includes all your agreed-upon prices and terms in the contract. Be ready for the sales pitch on aftermarket items and the extended warranty.
"Great bargains are to be expected at this time of year, but don't be rushed into buying a car just because you are caught up in the hysteria of a seemingly good deal," said Matt Jones, Edmunds' senior consumer advice editor. "Make sure to do your research in advance so that you don't get stuck with a purchase that you might regret down the road. And if you need to hold off on your purchase, the good news is that these deals are likely going to stick around beyond the holiday weekend and through early next year."
Edmunds guides car shoppers online from research to purchase. With in-depth reviews of every new vehicle, shopping tips from an in-house team of experts, plus a wealth of consumer and automotive market insights, Edmunds helps millions of shoppers each month select, price and buy a car with confidence. Regarded as one of America's best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work, Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.