You’ve seen or heard the car ads touting “summer clearance” or “year-end sale” that promise thousands of dollars saved if you buy a car now. If that car is last year’s model, however, that deal may not be such a great one, depending on your situation.
As the new model year arrives for each new car, dealers work to clear out their inventories. It’s simply a matter of space—they have only so much room and must get rid of the cars that have been on their lot the longest (currently the 2017 models) to make room for the newest cars (currently the 2018 models.) As a result, these outgoing models get discounted by both the automaker and the dealer, so the savings over the price from even a month before can literally be thousands less.
That savings, however, is essentially because you are buying a car that is already one year old before you’ve even driven it off the lot. That’s easy to forget (or just not realize) when you are buying a car that is the same model year as the current calendar year. In other words, buying a 2017 model in the year 2017—and many dealers will be all too happy to not call it to your attention.
But is a car that is one year old when you buy it really a problem? It could be.