Is Memorial Day a Good Time to Buy a Car?

For the most part, waiting for Memorial Day to get a great deal on a brand-new car, SUV, or truck is a good strategy. This is typically when dealerships publish some of their most aggressive discounts to move inventory before the arrival of new inventory from the next model year. However, following a global pandemic and a massive chip shortage, this year’s holiday will be anything but normal.

According to CarsDirect, pricing on new vehicles is actually going up drastically with higher interest rates and low stock throughout the country. To help you navigate this unusual situation, we’ll go over some of the most enticing deals available so you can hopefully still get yourself a great deal.

Will dealerships have good Memorial Day sales for 2021?

Toyota 4Runner in the forest
2021 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

As mentioned earlier, getting a good deal this Memorial Day will be quite tough. This all surrounds the chip shortage and the subsequent scarcity of available brand-new vehicles. According to CarsDirect, the pricing for both new and used vehicles has increased drastically. In fact, the average transaction price for March was $40,563, a decent increase from last year’s $38,601 figure. The same goes for used cars, which CarsDirect reports increased from $20,273 to $22,663.

Things don’t automatically get better even if you manage to find the car you’re looking for during the Memorial Day sale. That’s because manufacturers aren’t offering enticing financing options anymore. In fact, CarsDirect reports that Chevy, for example, isn’t offering interest-free financing on any of its brand-new models.

Another example comes from Toyota and its RAV4 crossover. Previously, you could get interest-free financing for 60 months on this best-selling model. However, the best you’ll get now is 1.9 percent APR. According to CarsDirect, this will cost you an extra $1,500 on a $30,000 crossover.

Despite these hurdles, there are some good Memorial Day deals, if you’re willing to shop around.

These are the biggest discounts on offer this year

The 2021 Chevy Equinox driving in a tunnel
2021 Chevy Equinox | Chevy

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If you’re looking at buying a brand-new SUV during this Memorial Day weekend, you’ll want to look at the 2021 Chevy Equinox and the 2021 Buick Enclave. According to CarsDirect, you’ll be able to get a discount of up to $4,737 for the Equinox. While you won’t get interest-free financing, a $23,800 SUV with almost $5,000 in discounts is certainly enticing.

If you need more space, you’ll want to look at the 2021 Buick Enclave. Unlike the Chevy, Buick does offer interest-free financing for 72 months when you go through the manufacturer. Additionally, you can get up to $3,000 off, says CarsDirect. However, it is worth noting that the discount is only available as downpayment assistance and runs out on June 1.

If you’re looking for a cheap sedan, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra seems like the best way to go. Not only can you get interest-free financing for 60 months, but Hyundai is also offering up to $1,000 off. You can even defer your first payment by 90 days.

According to CarsDirect, no manufacturer will offer massive discounts for brand-new trucks.

Will Memorial Day offer bigger discounts for EVs?

An image of a Nissan LEAF parked outdoors.
Nissan LEAF | Nissan

If you’re looking to make the switch from internal combustion to electric, this Memorial Day weekend likely won’t be the ideal time for it. That’s because CarsDirect reports that there are no major holiday-specific discounts for EVs. However, that doesn’t mean that you cant save big by ditching gas.

In fact, CarsDirect found that the 2021 Chevy Bolt has up to $12,000 off MSRP, while the 2021 Nissan LEAF can get up to $15,000 off when you factor in a $7,500 tax credit. It is worth noting that these deals are currently available, regardless of the holiday. As a result, if electricity is the way for you, you don’t even have to wait for the weekend.