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Does Buying a Leftover Model Make Sense?

Many car buyers are aware of the year end sales and clearance events that manufacturers offer in order to make room for their new models.

Most people think this is the best time to buy a new car, but most haven't considered the full costs and consequences of buying these leftover models. Buying a leftover model isn't for everyone, and doing so may actually cost you more then if you had bought the newer model.

First of all, you should only consider buying a leftover model if you intend to own it for many years. This is because the depreciation on a leftover model is going to be significantly higher than the newer model. When you buy a leftover, it's essentially a one year old car.

If you're forced to sell it after a year, your car will be considered 2 years old and will have depreciated accordingly. This will cost you thousands of dollars in lost value and if you didn't get an awesome deal on that car, you will end up in a worse situation than if you had bought the newer model.

Another thing you need to consider when buying a leftover model are the disadvantages of waiting too long. Production stops a couple of months before the newer models hit the showrooms, so you're only left with limited colors, styles and options to choose from. The most popular combinations get sold first, so you really need to be active when shopping for a leftover model.

Finally, you should be aware of the pricing for the newer model. Sometimes manufacturers actually lower the price of the new car - making it a more desirable option.

The ideal buyer for a leftover model would be someone who:

  • Doesn't mind waiting to purchase
  • Will be keeping the car for over 6 years
  • Is flexible with the colors and options
  • Is willing to spend lots of time researching and locating vehicles
Even if you fit all of this criteria, it may still not make sense to buy a leftover model unless you're able to get at least a $1,500 discount off the newer model price. Again, a lot of it boils down to your willingness to do research and keep up with the market. You may need to call up dealerships on a regular basis over a period of several months to determine what kind of inventory is left and see what kind of deals are being offered.

Sometimes leftover models sell quickly and the deals don't make much sense. Keep that in mind before you commit to buying a leftover vehicle.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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