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Some say end of year is a good time to buy a car

WEST VALLEY CITY — Car shoppers may find they get the best deal on a new vehicle at the end of the year, according to some car salespeople.

Sergio "Cheeky" Gomez, a sales manager for a Ken Garff West Valley dealership, said most dealerships try to get rid of inventory at the end of the year. This means good deals for customers.

"I mean, we're talking invoice, under invoice," he said.

Gomez's bosses said they need to sell more than 200 cars from their dealership by Jan. 3. By mid-December, they had sold about 30 percent of that.

"We'll just blow them out," he said of dealers in a hurry to get new 2014 models on their lot. "It's unbelievable."

His advice for car shoppers is to look for older models and rebates.

For example, he said, some of the best rebates are on 2013 half-ton pickup trucks like Dodge Rams.

"A customer can get close to $9,000 to $11,000 off of a truck," he said. "It's huge, because there's a lot more markups in the trucks."

If it's a 2013, Gomez said, "buy it because they're going to give you a steal on it."

Another key to getting a good deal is to utilize the Internet, Gomez said. A fellow salesman at the dealership, Shawn Trujillo, echoed Gomez's suggestion.

He said car shoppers should plan to buy a car on the weekend after they've done their homework online.

"That's when dealerships themselves want to do the best deals," he said. "The banks are apt to do more deals on the weekend than they are during the week."

One car buyer, John Bankhead, came across the idea online of buying cars at the end of the year and decided to try it out. A few years ago he bought his new Toyota RAV4 on Dec. 31.

Bankhead said he paid $28,000 out the door. He and his wife had been looking at the car a few months before and were able to settle on a price $2,000 lower than the original estimates.

His advice for other buyers is to take your time and do your homework.

"Just because you're in a hurry to get out before the year-end, or they're in a hurry to make the sale, don't let them upsale you everything at the end" he said.

He said a lot of the profit can be maintained with add-ons.

"Regardless of when I went in, I went in with a cap of what I was willing to pay," he said.

Mitch Hardy, a salesman at the South Towne Tim Dahle Nissan dealership, doesn't think the best time to buy a car is at the end of December or the beginning of January.

"You can buy and get just as good of a deal every single day of the year," Hardy said.

But his perception of a "good deal" is a deal that’s good for everybody and one where the value exceeds the price, he said.

“A good deal goes much further than the price. You have to be happy with the whole entire circumstance,” he said.

Hardy said prices change on cars throughout the year. For example, the best time to buy a Nissan Altima was on July 4.

His advice for shopping for a new car is to go armed with information about the car and discount programs with banks and credit unions.

"There's no secrets in the car business" in the age of the Internet, he said. "Everything's out on the table."

Hardy said good deals can be found in December, but consumers are more likely to sacrifice what they want in a car.

He said you should buy a car at the end of the year only because that's when you want to spend your money, not because you're looking to get a specific discount.

But those who plan to buy at the end of the year shouldn't be picky.

"You want to make sure you're buying a car people absolutely want to get rid of, that nobody else wants," Hardy said. "That's the one that you'll really get a deal on."


Twitter: EmileeEagar