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“If you buy a car, you have to a get discount.” At least that’s the common thought when it comes to buying a car in any other year. However, times have changed and the year 2021 has not been kind to the car sales world.

The global chip and inventory shortages have hiked pricing up on new and used cars nationwide, leaving buyers having to pay MSRP or above for cars that normally carry heavy discounts. But there’s a reason why car buyers likely won’t get too many good car deals for the remainder of this year.

2021 is not the best year to get a good deal on a car

Chevrolet dealership with cars that are likely selling for MSRP
Chevrolet dealership | John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

While the end of the year is typically one of the best times to buy a car, that’s not the case for 2021. According to, the reason that that car prices are so high comes down to a simple supply and demand issue. Cars are in short supply everywhere yet the demand for them remains high, so prices go up.

Additionally, since the demand for cars is so high, dealers are less likely to discount their prices. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price for a used car jumped to $25,000 this past summer. As for new cars, the average selling price is at an all-time high of $43,000. Compare those numbers to the reported $21,000 for used cars and $37,000 for new cars back in 2019 and we can start to see the negative impact that this supply and demand issue is having on the market.

There are still ways that you can save money when buying a car this year

Car Dealership desk
Empty desks at Savage 61 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealership on Route 61 in Muhlenberg Township, PA. | (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

If you absolutely need a car this year and can’t wait until the market starts to even out, then there are ways that you can save money on your car purchase. If you’re buying a new car, then you can check out Edmunds for any current discounts or incentives on the car that you want. Don’t be surprised if the car that you want doesn’t have any discounts since manufacturers are less likely to be giving dealers any sales incentives during this time.

That being said, some manufacturers are still giving out really low-interest rates on financing in addition to “college grad” and “military rebates. For example, Acura and Honda are currently offering 1.9% financing for well-qualified buyers while Kia is offering a $300 rebate on the Telluride for buyers willing to finance. These discounts and incentives might not sound like much, but something is better than nothing in this current market.

The used car market is up, but you can still find a good deal


Used Car Prices Aren’t as Negotiable as You Thought

If you’re planning on purchasing a used car instead, then keep in mind that most of the prices on dealer lots are inflated right now. However, you can still find a good deal on a used car if you’re willing to scour the private party classifieds.

While some of the used cars on Craigslist and Autotrader have inflated prices from private sellers looking to take advantage of the market, others do not. For example, you might not be able to find a smoking deal on a popular 2018 Honda Civic, but you can still find a Kia Rio for pretty cheap. In times like these, you can save a lot of money by going with less-popular makes and models or even opting to go with a car that has a lot of miles on the clock.

Either way, 2021 might not be the best time to buy a new or used car, unless you can’t hold out. In that case, remember to do your research to find the right vehicle that fits your budget, whether it’s a good deal or not.