What time of the year is best for selling cars?

Traditionally spring is the busiest time of the year in the motor trade, making this the best time to sell a car.

But lots of factors effect what time of the year is best for selling a car. Obviously the type of car should be a consideration, but the weather, plate changes and even sporting events can be deciding factors. Below we share some of our experiences to help you navigate the market and get thew best price for your vehicle.

How does seasonality effect car sales?

Seasonality can have a massive effect on car sales, with spring being typically the best time to sell a sports car or convertible – because demand from buyers is high ahead of summer. But demand for convertibles drops away during mid summer, and if you still have a convertible for sale in late summer you will most likely not sell it until the following spring. Customers buy convertibles and cabriolets for the summer, not during. So you need to market a convertible in early spring if not just before to achieve the best price.

The same is true of sports cars and coupes. They may be less seasonal than a convertible, but most sales are concluded in the spring and early summer months. So again this is the best time to market a sports cars or coupe.

Spring may not be traditionally thought of as the best time to sell 4×4’s. But location can be an influencing factor, for instance if you live close to the sea or lakes. Lower end 4×4 demand can be high as people look for tow vehicles to transport and launch boats and jet-skies. So you may achieve a premium price for the right car if your timing and location is right.

The summer months can be a bit hit and miss once the schools have broken up for the summer holidays. With family buyers being caught up looking after the kids or being away on holiday. So demand can be low across the board during late summer making this period often the slowest sales period after Christmas.

Weather is also a big influencer on car sales. An especially hot summer or a ‘heat wave’ will also drive down demand. The same is true if it’s an especially wet summer.

Autumn and winter are when demand for 4×4’s normally peaks. Again the weather often plays a huge part in driving demand and prices. During particular harsh winters off-roaders and 4×4’s prices can rocket, especially after and during snowy periods. Making this by far the best time to sell a 4×4.

Demand for all models drops away as Christmas approaches as peoples attention and spending is focused on the holidays. Making this the slowest time of the year. Garages and dealers are keen to do business and prices drop away or flatten as does the demand. Demand then picks up after the big day is over, with the period between Christmas day and the new year being busy. Often riven by optimism for the new year and boredom caused by having time off from work.

Sales can be slow in the first few weeks of the year. But demand slowly builds as the year gets going and people get back to normal life after the festivities. Activity and sales figures normally start to slowly rise and the seasonal cycle starts all over again.

UK plate changes affect secondhand car values

If you are in the UK the plate changes can have a detrimental effect on used car prices. New registration plates are issued in March and September and cause a massive spike in buying activity for new cars, flooding the second hand market with used stock, in turn driving down prices due to over supply. Meaning this is often a bad time to be selling family cars and saloons in particular.

Do school holiday effect car values?

As we mentioned above school holiday can also effect values during the summer and Christmas periods. The same is true of half term and Easter breaks. So you should take these into account when selling a car. You may get luck and find a family looking for a new car, but demand usually drops away during these periods.

Sporting events can effect car values

Sporting events are often overlooked but shouldn’t be ignored. Both local and international sporting events can effect used car sales numbers and values. This is especially true of the bigger international events, such as the Super Bowl and the Football World Cup, with the summer Olympics often being an absolute business killer. Local events that are important to you community can also effect the value and saleability of you car. These events suck the attention away from normal activates and distract people from buying high ticket items. So you should hold off on selling you car during these events if at all possible.

You can however use this to you advantage if your county or local team is successful in these events. A successful or unprecedented win even at a local level can generate a feel-good factor and more spending that can boost a local economy in the short term. This can be a great time to market a car and get top money for it.

Politics can lower you cars value

Nothing can galvanise a community more than an election or referendum. These times of uncertainty and political change can have dramatic effects on spending and the values of good. You only have to look at the movements in the stock markets across the world to understand the effects the dramatic effects these changes can have. Used car prices are not immune to these effects. With most garages and dealers seeing a drop in enquires and footfall in showrooms and forecourts. The result of this uncertainty being lower retail demand and lower prices in most cases.

Conclusion

Lots of things can effect the value and desirability and saleability of a car. These range from the obvious things like age, colour and mileage. But the time of year can really make a big difference to the amount of time it takes to sell a car and its market value.

With weather and seasonality being a driving factor in the greater motor trade you should also take these factors into account when selling a car. The power of big events to distract a potential buyer from purchasing should also not be underestimated, and the same is true of political uncertainty or any uncertainty for that matter.

If you have been struggling to sell you car we have written an article on the subject – What to do if your car isn’t selling.

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