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Which Model Year Should You Buy: 2011 or 2012?

February 2, 2012

As we move into February, there are still leftover vehicles remaining on dealer lots.

The question at this point becomes: is it better to buy a 2012 model or a leftover 2011 model?

It depends on how long you intend to keep the vehicle and what kind of discounts you can get. A leftover model is technically considered to be a one year old vehicle, so if you're forced to sell it soon, you may take a big loss due to depreciation.

Therefore, if you intend to buy a leftover, you should be willing to hold onto it for at least 5 years. You should also negotiate a price that is at least 10 to 15% lower than the 2012 model.

Be aware that the colors and options you desire may no longer be available. Leftover vehicles are part of a diminishing supply, so the least desirable ones are left for last.

Use the free CarWoo negotiation tool to see what kind of deals you can get on both model years.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise, 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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