What Should You Expect At End Of Year Car Sales?
What do I get at an end of year car sale?
End of year car sales discounts are usually available when there's a brand new model of the car due in car showrooms soon, if it isn't already available.
So what could you be missing out on by buying a car in plate clearance?
The new model coming out will often be just a mid-life refresh of the old model, perhaps with some new technology and interior styling, but essentially the same car.
The other situation is when the new model is a totally rebuilt version of the car on runout. Either way, you have the opportunity to get yourself a good deal in an end of year car sale, as most buyers will be looking to the new model.
End of year car or 'plate clearance' sales will usually be for models in the regular lineup. The later in the sale you purchase, the less choice you will have regarding colour, trim and transmission options.
What is a plate clearance model?
A 'plate clearance' sale is when car models are discounted to clear space for new stock that's arriving soon. These cars will usually have less than 10,000km on the clock.
The dealer offers low prices on these 'older' cars to keep their turnover high and make room for next year's models.
How do I check the build date?
The build date of the car is found on the plate mounted under the bonnet and shows the month and year that the car was manufactured.
Untangle the sales jargon before you go to buy your runout model car at the end of year car sales so that you can confidently negotiate a fair price on the vehicle.
Don't get this date confused with the Model Year (MY) which tells you which model cycle the car is in, and isn't necessarily the year that it was built in, or the year that the car went on sale in Australia, which may not be the same as the date the car was built, especially for models imported to Australia.
When should I buy at end of year car sales?
When you're buying a plate clearance model, find out if there have been a significant safety or reliability updates made to the new model.
If the car is known to be very reliable, and changes to the new model are mostly cosmetic or related to the in-car infotainment system, you can get yourself a great deal by buying the older car at a plate clearance price.
There are even instances when you might outright prefer the earlier version of the car, such as when a manufacturer stops providing a choice of manual or automatic transmission or doesn't offer a diesel option on a newer model.
Tips for buying at plate clearance
- Check the build date on the engine plate under the bonnet so you know when the car was manufactured.
- If the car isn't from the current year, you can negotiate the price with the dealer. Asking for four percent off in the new year is fair.
- If it's registered, find out who the first registered owner was, and when it was first registered. A runout model should be registered under the trade plates for the dealership.
- Find out why it's on runout, and what's different about the incoming model.
- Check how many kilometres it's done, and get a history if it has more than 500km on the odometer.
Negotiating an end of year car sale
When you've decided you're definitely looking to purchase a car, find out when the new model of the vehicle you want comes out. Then head to the dealership a couple of weeks before it's due.
Getting into the dealer mid-week, when sales are slow and everyone is at work, will give you some leverage to negotiate with sales staff who have extra time on their hands and want to build up their sales for the week. If you can, head in on Wednesday of the last week of the month.
Pick out the car that you want and ask for invoice pricing. This means that you're offering to pay the price the dealer paid for the car. Starting low gives you room to go higher, and to negotiate extra features that you want to be added to the car.
Always try to arrange your financing separately to negotiating the price of the car too, so that you can get the best deal on your purchase price and on your car loan contract.
Get a quote and pre-approval from a finance broker before you go to the dealership so that you can focus on getting the lowest plate clearance price on the car that you want.