December can be a great time to buy a car. While traditionally the deals are on new models, picking up a pre-owned model during the holidays can save you some cash as well. The folks at iSeeCars.com analyzed the market to find the cars with the best year-end deals.
Determining a “deal” on a pre-owned car is a bit trickier than a new model. With new cars, you have factory rebates and incentives, along with dealer discounts. Used cars are more complicated since the average margin for negotiation is really narrow. A “deal” on a pre-owned car is more about the best overall value when looking at factors like year, miles, trim, equipment, and warranty balance.
Some cars are more likely to fall below the market average during the end of the year and iSeeCars.com crunched the numbers using the following methodology:
iSeeCars.com analyzed over 2.4 million one- to five-year-old used cars sold in December between 2015 and 2017 and identified the percentage of cars of each model that were deals. A deal is defined as having savings of five percent or more off fair market value. Cars that were no longer in production as of the 2018 or 2019 model year, work vehicles, and models with low sample size were excluded from further analysis. For each model, the percentage of cars that were deals was compared to the overall average percentage of deals.
Given that most buyers are looking for crossovers, it’s no surprise the biggest savings are found on sedans:
The BMW 3 series may be ubiquitous, but it still provides a great balance of performance and luxury. If you look hard enough you can even get one with three pedals. Rivals like the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class also occupy the list. December looks to be a good time to grab a depreciated luxury sedan.
Ford’s recently discontinued models like the Focus and Fiesta still struggle to find buyers even in the pre-owned market. The Mustang and Camaro seem to be slow sellers in December as well, probably since most folks aren’t shopping for muscle cars as winter approaches.
Naturally, most buyers are scrambling to the dealers to find something with AWD or 4WD this time of year, and if you are in the market for a used crossover, you can find some solid values.
While pre-owned cars aren’t typically subject to the seasonal or monthly price fluctuations like new cars , due to the fact that there isn’t factory rebate money that is either increasing or decreasing, deals can be had in December on used models, but just don’t take it personally if the dealers don’t budge much on price.
To see the full report including which trucks and discontinued GM cars have the most deals, go to iSeeCars.com.