Skip to main content

The new car market has had plenty of ups and downs over the past few years. Before the pandemic, it was easy to shop between dealerships and get the best price on the car you want. Dealer inventories were also stacked, and buying a car a few thousand dollars below the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) was easy.

But that’s no longer the case in 2023. Nowadays, you would be lucky if you can get a car at MSRP and even luckier if you can get the exact car you want at all. Although dealership inventories have bounced back, they’re not as filled as before, and buying a new car is a little trickier. Here are a few tips for finding the cheapest deal possible on a new car.

Tip No. 1: Have some flexibility when buying the right car for you

A row of new cars lined up on a dealership lot
A line of new cars at a dealership | via Getty Images

In order to get the best deal on a new car this year, being flexible with your selection is important. Sure, that Aegean Blue Metallic Honda Civic Touring looks nice, but if the dealerships near you only have it in black or white, you may need to put your color-blind goggles on.

Lending Club notes, “Many dealerships have limited inventory, so being flexible on car color can help you prioritize other features you may find more important.”

If the dealerships near you don’t have the color and feature configuration your heart is set on, you may need to settle for buying a car they have in stock to get the best deal.

Tip No. 2: Know the car’s pricing

An expansive Toyota dealership lot under the clear blue sky, featuring rows of shiny new and pre-owned vehicles neatly arranged in orderly rows. The showroom building stands prominently at the center, with a sleek glass facade and the Toyota logo prominently displayed. Customers and sales staff can be seen inspecting cars, and colorful Toyota banners and flags flutter in the gentle breeze, adding a vibrant touch to the scene.
Toyotas on a dealership lot | via Getty Images

Although you might not be able to buy the new car you want for less than MSRP, it’s important to be aware of its pricing. The MSRP of the car you want will be the same at every dealership, but some dealers could offer a discount depending on their inventory. Either way, knowing the car’s price and taking note of how many cars the dealer has to get a discount could pay off.

Tip No. 3: Shop online

Two new car customers play with the radio in a new car.
Customer play with a radio in a car | via Getty Images

The car-shopping process may be a little different than before, but some of the same strategies still apply. As such, we recommend shopping for the car you want online and comparing the pricing, trim levels, and features before stepping into a showroom. Doing so will cut down on your time and the pressure of having to visit multiple dealerships in person.

Checking out dealerships online will also allow you to expand your search. If you can’t find that special Toyota GR Corolla in your state, don’t worry; there’s probably one in California. As a bonus, some dealerships may also figure out how to ship the car to your home.

Tip No. 4: Figure out your financing and shop on certain days for the best price

A financing sign showing 2.9 percent on a dealership lot.
A sign advertising financing on a dealership lot | via Getty Images

Car shopping in 2023 may have changed, but that doesn’t mean some old rules don’t apply. To spend the least amount possible when buying a new car, we recommend shopping for an auto loan before shopping for a car.

You can get pre-approval through a bank or credit union first to see what rate and credit limit you could be approved for. That way, you’ll know exactly how much you can spend on a car and won’t have to go through the dealership for financing only to have them mark up the rate.

Don’t be afraid to shop around and get multiple approvals; the lower the interest rate, the better.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to shop during the major holidays in the year, at the end of the month, and at the end of the year to possibly get the best price on a new car.

Getting the best price on a new car in 2023 takes some planning

Ultimately, getting the best price on a new car in 2023 will take some homework and planning. It’s important to know what the car’s pricing and availability are, as well as your financing options. The homework may seem tedious, but it is worth it in the long run, especially if you buy the car under MSRP.