Consumers purchasing new cars can expect bigger bargains than usual this Memorial Day weekend, according to California-based Edmunds, which produces an online vehicle shopping guide. The company has a satellite office in Detroit.
Edmunds experts say prior model year sell down efforts were severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic; one out of 10 new vehicles on dealer lots in May were 2019 model year vehicles, which means shoppers can find more clearance vehicles to choose from this holiday weekend compared to years past.
This is also the first big holiday shopping event since the outbreak of the coronavirus, and it’s happening as states begin to ease stay home orders. The weekend presents an opportunity for automakers and dealers to attract buyers after bleak sales numbers for the industry in April.
“We’re seeing far more generous incentives and deals out there than we typically would for Memorial Day weekend, and since more consumers might be looking at vehicles for summer road trips instead of airline travel, things might look up a bit for the industry,” says Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds. “We’re optimistic that sales could improve after the record lows we saw in April, but there’s still a layer of uncertainty around whether consumers will really show up en masse to shop given the severe effect that the pandemic has had on personal finances and the economy.”
Edmunds experts say some of the best deals on new vehicles will likely be found on trucks and SUVs. The company’s data shows that for 2019 model year vehicles sitting on dealer lots, full-size trucks are seeing an average discount of 17 percent, midsize SUVs are seeing an average discount of 14.4 percent, and subcompact SUVs are seeing an average 16.3 percent discount.
For 2020 model year vehicles on dealer lots, full-size truck list prices are seeing an average discount of 13.4 percent, midsize SUVs a discount of 11 percent, and subcompact SUVs a discount of 13.5 percent.
To help consumers planning on shopping for a new car this weekend, Edmunds recommends that customers do their research, establish a budget and shop around for financing, get a trade-in appraisal, get price quotes from different dealerships, find a dealership that offers the desired car, request contactless test drives, and see what paperwork can be completed and whether home delivery is an option.
“If you know you’re in a financially stable enough position to purchase a new vehicle, and you aren’t super picky, now is a really good time to consider buying,” says Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds. “Safety is obviously top of mind in the current situation, but the great news is that the entire car buying process can essentially be completed online and from the comfort of your own home. If you have your heart set on more specific vehicle features, options or colors, you might want to turn your attention to 2020 model year vehicles. The discounts won’t be as steep, but there will be far more of a selection to choose from.”
Edmunds is an online car shopping guide that offers reviews of every new vehicle, market insights, and shopping tips.