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Should You Buy a Leftover 2010 Model?

August 19, 2010

Leftover Cars Manufacturers introduce new models throughout the year, but autumn remains the official start of the new automotive year.

However, if you're in the market for a new car, you may be asking yourself: Am I better off waiting for new models to come out, or buy a leftover at the end of the season?

The answer is - it depends. Waiting for updated or redesigned models means you'll get the latest safety and convenience features, while updates to engines, transmissions, and technology will likely improve fuel mileage and performance.

On the downside, new models almost always cost more than the ones they replace, and discounts are less likely.

Buying a leftover should save you some money upfront because dealers are likely to negotiate to clear old inventory. However, a leftover new car is a year old the moment you drive it off the lot (you'll lose big on depreciation if you trade every couple of years). And your leftover car is likely to depreciate faster if it's been replaced with a redesigned model for the new model year.

One final thing to consider is reliability. New models tend to have more problems on average than those on the road for a year or more. The last year of a model's production is often the most reliable.

Bottomline: If you intend to keep the car for many years, buying a leftover model makes more sense. If you like trading-in for a new vehicle every 3-4 years, then you're probably better off buying the latest model.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show 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.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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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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