Labor Day weekend car shopping
Saving Money

Labor Day Weekend Car Shopping Is A Total Bust

If you’ve been saving up to buy a new or used vehicle, Labor Day weekend is not the time to invest. Surprised? Well, we were too. In years past, Labor Day weekend car shopping has historically been one of the greatest times to buy. With generous discounts offered and an urgency to sell current-year models, dealerships always found a way to earn significant profits all while securing happy customers in return. That scenario, unfortunately, is far from what we’re seeing nowadays. Even on holiday weekends as prominent as Labor Day.

The expectation of discounts and sales in general are some semblance of what we once knew of the automotive industry. While Labor Day sales have arguably given the biggest reprieve to car shoppers in pre-pandemic times, the current market has us heading in a totally different direction. One in which expensive car prices are only getting more expensive. And, the cost of driving a new vehicle is more comparable to the average salary that Americans make in one year.

All things considered, we can’t let potential buyers go into the holiday weekend under the presumption they’ll snag a deal. In most cases, it will be quite the opposite.

Labor Day weekend car shoppingHigher prices haunt Labor Day weekend car shopping

When walking into a dealership this weekend, expect to be let down. According to CNBC, “the average new-car discount offered by manufacturers is down an estimated 47.1% from a year ago to $969”. Even if you’re in the market for a more affordable model, it’s unlikely you feel the impact of an advertised offer even if there is one. Which means, Labor Day shopping will be a stark contrast from years past, no matter which make or model you fancy.

Given that the lack of deals isn’t bad enough, there is also no signs of new car prices easing up. In August, the average price for a new vehicle reached an unprecedented $46,259. This estimated cost remains the highest on record and is up 11.5% since August 2021. Though Labor Day weekend marks the start of Q3, you can expect this new average to become the standard of car shopping regardless of where you shop.

The question is: Can it get any worse?

Used car shopping shows promise

Despite the current circumstances, there is still some hope for Labor Day weekend car shopping. A number of recent reports showed that used vehicles, specifically those aged three or more years, are slowly starting to reduce in price. Buyers who are willing to give a well-maintained used vehicle a chance are seeing greater savings, on average. What’s more, you won’t necessarily have to give an arm and a leg to get behind the wheel of something new. Or relatively new, in this case.

Another interesting change thats starting to happen is the increasing value of trade-ins. With persistent low inventories, dealers are willing and ready to pay more to get more cars on their lot. Since consumer demand is so strong, dealerships are desperate for fresh inventory that keeps buyers walking through their doors regardless of the elevated price tags.

All and all, consumers may fare better in a Labor Day car purchase if they have something of value to trade-in. Otherwise, you might as well save your car purchase for another weekend this year. Perhaps you’re just better off waiting until 2023.

Don’t wait for the deals

In pre-pandemic times, a Labor Day weekend car shopping experience would be a celebratory occasion. Buyers both near and far could put their faith in dealerships to offer some sort of sale or enticing offer to sweeten a deal. However, 2022 is proving to be the least ideal time to invest in a new or used model. Even such an honorable holiday like Labor Day won’t be giving back to consumers this year. If you want to buy, you’ll pay the price (and then some).

In short, discounts are out the window. Shortages are fueling price increases. There is no real advantage anymore for waiting until holiday sales hit in order to buy. As chip shortages, supply chain delays, and inflation woes continue to shake up the automotive industry, your time is best not spent wasted at a car dealership. Instead, it might just be time to hold on to your vehicle for longer.

Want to know the average age of vehicles on the road? Read our article on why drivers are increasing length of ownership.

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Michaella Malone
Hello! My name is Michaella Malone. I am a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in English. I am a freelance writer with varied experience in ghostwriting, blogging, and resume building. I have additional knowledge in creating content for ESL curriculums.

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