Why You Shouldn't Buy A Car Just Because It's The End Of The Year

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This week can be a great time to buy a car, but too many people are rushing into purchases before the new year without thinking things through.

Welcome to Ask Automatch! Where you get to ask me your burning car buying questions. Got a scenario or a situation and you aren’t sure what to do? Send an email to Tom.McParland@jalopnik.com and I’ll try to help you out.

This week’s letter comes from Mark who wanted to grab an end-of-year deal on a new Hyundai, but had some second thoughts on whether or not it was a decent buy.

Yesterday I left the dealership after agreeing on price, financing terms and trade-in value of my current car, but didn’t close the deal.

The reasons I couldn’t buy the car at that time were: I didn’t have the title to my current car and the car I bought was not at the dealership. I left a $1,000 deposit thru my Amex card bc they had to bring the car in from another dealership. When I started to really think about it, I’m not sure the deal is all that great to begin with. I know I’m doing this backwards, so I had some questions that maybe you can help with.

There are approx $2600 in dealer incentives that expire on 1/3/2017 that I would like to take advantage of for part of my down payment. So I want to buy before that time.

I used TrueCar to get the pricing. Is their average discount a good price and does it include the rebates/incentives?

Can I go back in and re-negotiate the price of car, trade in and financing?

If I walk away from this deal, are they allowed to keep any or all of my $1,000 deposit?

Lastly, is there any way of figuring out what incentives will be on cars for the next month?


Mark, you were smart to take a step back and reassess the situation. The $2600 incentives are probably already included in this deal, and you should have a full breakdown of the pricing on that car before going forward. Have them email this to you before you close the deal. You should know the MSRP of the dealer discounted price, applicable rebates and a total with all taxes and fees.

If they send you this info and it looks legit, it’s unlikely you will be able to renegotiate this deal. This price is probably their best offer. You have nothing to lose by asking for more discounts, but don’t take it personally if they say it’s their lowest price.


TrueCar does typically include popular factory rebates in their savings certificates. As to the whether or not the TrueCar price is the best one, that is hard to say without actually shopping the deal in your area. The TrueCar price is certainly a fair one, but in my experience, you can probably do a bit better on a common car like a Hyundai. Again, the only way to really know for sure if you are getting the best price is to compare the actual quotes from dealers in your area on the same car.


In regards to the title problem. Some dealers can request a new title copy from the DMV even if you don’t have it. This varies from state to state. I ran into this issue when I paid off my Mazda and was going to trade it for my VW, I was worried the title wouldn’t arrive on time. The dealer told me they could handle it if I didn’t have a copy, as long as I could provide a bank statement that said the loan was clear.

If you have to back out of the deal you should be entitled to your deposit back. My advice is to wait until you have the title in your hand, then start fresh. While I don’t know what Hyundai’s rebates will be next month, given their sales situation right now I would imagine they aren’t going to change all that much. They may even be better. Take your time, compare the quotes and get the deal you are comfortable with.