How to Figure Out How Long a Car Has Been Sitting on a Dealer's Lot
Most dealers take out loans in order to buy their inventory and they pay off a portion of the loans each time they sell a vehicle.
For each day that vehicle doesn't sell, the dealer keeps paying interest on that loan. The longer a car sits, the larger the interest cost grows.
Dealers typically don't mind paying interest for 30 or even 60 days, but when the car has been sitting on the lot for 3 months, that's when they really start getting nervous. They start worrying about losing money on the car if they don't sell it soon.
Knowing how long a new car has been on the lot will give you another weapon in your car buying arsonal.
So how do you figure out this information? There's a simple way, but unfortunately, it requires you to have pysical access to the vehicle.
Usually located inside the driver's door jamb, you will find a sticker that states the manufacture date along with some other information.
Here is what it looks like for a Ford, manufactured in April of 2005
If the date is 3 or 4 months old, you will know that the dealer has had that car on their lot for quite some time and they're probably motivated to sell it. Note that cars manufactured outside the United States will take longer for delivery, so keep that in mind.
Since you need to actually see the vehicle in person before you can get this data, it may not be very practical.
An alternative would be to search listings on Cars.com. They allow you to filter results by how long ago the car was listed on the site.
This doesn't really give you accurate information, but it will show you which cars have been available for sale the longest. When it comes to car buying, small bits of information like this can give you the leverage you need to negotiate the price lower - and that's always a good thing.
3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum MoneyThe key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:
Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted NetworkSelect the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirectTrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.
Step 3 Complete my ChecklistFollow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid