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Which Leftover Models Should You Buy?

October 18, 2012

It's that time of year when many car shoppers need to decide between buying the latest 2013 model or opting for the leftover 2012 model. The advantage to buying leftovers are the steep discounts. But there's an art to buying a leftover model.

If you wait too long, there may not be any remaining with the colors or options you desire - or worse, there may not be any left at all. If you buy too soon, you won't maximize savings, since dealers aren't as desperate to sell. The time of year also matters. If the leftover models dwindle down well before the end of the year, there's less pressure on dealers to sell, since they know they won't have much trouble selling the remaining ones.

This week, I gathered data to show you which leftover models currently have the best potential for steep discounts while also having enough remaining inventory to choose from. I gathered data from nationwide classified listings, and calculated how many days inventory each model had remaining based on last month's sales figures along with the ratio of remaining 2012 models. (There's a bit of guesswork here, so consider these numbers ball-park figures)

To see what kind of deals are available on these leftovers, use the CarWoo Deal Finder.

Vehicle2012 Units Available2013 Units AvailableTotal Units September Total Sales 2012 Ratio Daily Units Sold *Days Remaining
2012 Chevrolet Malibu 3,041 32,703 35,744 11,188 9% 32 96
2012 Chevrolet Traverse 16,613 0 16,613 5,687 100% 190 88
2012 GMC Acadia 13,472 0 13,472 6,159 100% 205 66
2012 Nissan Pathfinder 6,294 0 6,294 3,205 100% 107 59
2012 Ford Mustang 725 7,858 8,583 4,439 8% 12 58
2012 Toyota Avalon 2,417 0 2,417 1,571 100% 52 46
2012 Nissan Altima 3,881 24,552 28,433 24,448 14% 111 35
2012 Honda Accord 11,971 19,948 31,919 29,182 38% 365 33
2012 Chevrolet Impala 7,372 6,567 13,939 15,259 53% 269 27
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe 851 5,881 6,732 7,378 13% 31 27
2012 Ford Fusion 5,033 5,297 10,330 12,300 49% 200 25
2012 Ford Escape 501 15,454 15,955 23,148 3% 24 21
2012 Lexus ES 350 950 3,001 3,951 6,553 24% 53 18

According to the numbers above, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has 96 days worth of inventory remaining, the highest of the bunch, while the 2012 Lexus ES 350 has only 18 days remaining. These figures are based off of last month's sales figures. Keep in mind this doesn't mean it will take exactly 96 days for the leftover Malibus to run out. Typically, as leftover models dwindle, it becomes harder to sell off the remaining batch due to unpopular color and option choices, so you can expect that some leftovers will still be available well into 2013.

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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