How Much Can I Negotiate Off of a 2021 Model Car?

Let’s face it, no one really wants to pay the full MSRP for any new car when they walk into a dealership. In fact, when I was selling cars, one of the first questions that I would typically get when it was time to talk about the price of the car was, “How much of discount can you give me?” Yes, that sounds direct, but it’s a valid question in the car-buying society we live in.

My answer to that question varied depending on the time of the year. For example, in today’s terms, if it were a 2020 model that the customer was interested in and we were just about to go into 2021, then I could probably go well below the invoice price. But if it was a new 2021 model, then my answer would have been a little different.

How much can I negotiate off a new-model-year car?

But the question remains: How much can a car buyer expect as a discount on a new-model car, like a 2021 model? To be honest, it depends on the manufacturer as some of them do tend to give some incentives for the latest models. However, in a month like December, you can expect a much bigger discount on the “older” 2020 models because every dealer wants to make more room for the new models coming in and the manufacturer wants them to get rid of them too, hence the larger discounts.

When it came down to it, the most I was usually able to knock of a new car was maybe $1,000 to $2,000 at the most, which is usually still above the invoice price. Depending on the model and the brand I was working for, sometimes the full MSRP was the price of the car, or possibly $500 off, at the most. Of course, not many of my customers would agree to that and would instead choose to wait it out until more discounts and incentives became available.

New and used cars are pictured on the forecourt at a re-opened BMW car dealership, in Hook, southwest of London, following the easing of the lockdown restrictions during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
A dealership where buying a new car happens | ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

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Don’t worry, you can still get a good deal on a 2021 model

If you can’t wait to buy a new car and are stuck with having to buy a 2021 model (if they’re out of the 2020 stock), then I suggest going to Edmunds and checking on the “True Market Value” of the car that you’re interested in. Kelley Blue Book has the same type of feature in which you can see what other car buyers in your area are paying for the car that you’re interested in. By using these values as ammunition, you can likely score a good deal on a new 2021 model without having to hear the song and dance of “having no incentives for that car.”

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A man inspects new Toyota cars on display | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times there are no manufacturer incentives for certain models, so dealers are limited in the discounts that they can offer. But by checking out Edmunds, TrueCar, or Kelley Blue Book, you can at least know how to get some type of discount if you’re really in need of a car. Also, Consumer Reports listed that some models, including the Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Malibu, GMC Canyon, and Kia Soul are currently being sold with as much as 11 percent off MSRP. So with some research, there are definitely some savings to be had on the 2021 models.