Skip to main content

Two things are happening right now. New cars are beginning to fill out dealerships after years of short supply, and used car prices are lowering as a result. Supply and demand. So, is now the best time to buy new or used? Especially with the record heat happening throughout the U.S., not many buyers are flocking to hot dealers’ lots. It should be prompting dealers to be dealin’. So is it?

There are definite seasonal ups and downs when it comes to car buying. Sales slow during the winter because who wants to trudge around in the snow looking for the right car? But some portions of America aren’t affected as much by the weather, like California. 

What cars sell the most in each month?

Car salesman with buyer
Car dealership in the spring | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

According to CarMax, here are the general regions when car buying spikes during certain seasons. Through most of the U.S., from California to Virginia, winter is when car buyers are buyin’. In most fly-over states, it’s a toss-up between spring and fall. For most of the upper northeast, Summer is when most car sales are made. 

But CarMax also sees seasonal trends for specific brands. You would think that brand sales are the same and even, no matter the carmaker. Here is the month that certain brand sales spike:

January-Mercedes Benz

February-Chevrolet Cruze

March-Chevrolet Cruze

April-Ram 1500

May-Ram 1500

June-Jeep Cherokee

July-Kia Forte

August-Kia Sorento

September-Dodge Grand Caravan

October-Toyota Tacoma

November-Toyota Highlander

December-Jeep Compass

Which season do cars sell the most?

Overhead shot of dealership in the winter
Dealership car lot in the winter | li xin/AFP via Getty

Similar sales results are found in each season. Each of the four seasons sees almost 25% of all yearly sales. Summer is slightly more at 27%. 

Right now, used car prices are lower than at the beginning of the year, according to Manheim, one of the largest used car purveyors in the U.S. But Automotive News says dealers don’t want to be stuck with too many used cars in a volatile market. They don’t know if the Kia Sorento they got in July will be worth less in September. 

So, there is a chance that used car prices may creep up. But what’s holding down the price lid is those more abundant new cars. And the heat dome over most of the U.S. Oh, and earthquakes and tropical storms in the southwest, and the horrible fire in Maui. Yes, as we’ve shown, the weather matters, especially in these whipsaw extremes we’re all experiencing. 

Will there be an advantage to buying cars in extreme weather?

Car buyer and salesman at dealership
Car sales at a Ford dealership | Scott Olson/Getty

Just today, a huge tropical storm is hitting Texas. And car sales, new and used, are surely down across the border in Canada from the massive fires. Nobody is thinking of buying anything when their homes are gone or it’s 115 degrees in Kansas City. 

So, as with anything, there are so many variables that affect vehicle prices and car buying. Now you know that weather and the seasons can even affect sales, and that translates into price-crazy shifts. If you do trek out into the heat, stay safe out there. 


Best And Worst Times To Buy Used Cars