Model Year End Clearance "Deal"

"I'm looking for a 2010 Chevy Malibu." the woman says. She is the standard customer, the one you always picture when you are picturing a retail customer.

"Well, ma'am, we sold out of 2010 Malibu's in June." I say, trying valiantly to prevent my eyes from rolling. "Would you like to look at a 2011?"

"Will the 2011 have the same rebates?"

"No, the 2010 will have more rebates. But there aren't any 2010 Malibus left." I reply. I've heard this question 100,000 times over the past 4 years.

"Can you check for me? I would rather have the big rebate." she says, impatiently.


August and September are usually very, very frustrating months for the new car salesperson.

Not because of the weather, or because there aren't any customers on the lot. It's because of new model year changeover. Late summer is when we tend to get our new models. Because we might still have a ton of inventory left over from the previous model year, General Motors tends to throw extra cash on the hoods of whatever they might have tons of. 

"Tons of cash, hmmm?" you might be thinking. "Might be a great time to get a great deal..."

Not so fast, there, Sparky. 

Usually these great deals turn out to not be so great, after you check out the figures beyond the original purchase price. Let's dig a little deeper, beyond the upfront costs. 

- You're getting a vehicle that is already a model year behind. If you're going to be keeping your car until "the wheels fall off" (I'm so tired of that statement), then this might not matter to you, but if you're anything like most customers, you're going to want to get out of that car sometime in next 3 to 4 years. When you go to trade that vehicle in, it will not be worth as much as a vehicle that is in what is now the current model year. A 2010 Chevy Impala isn't worth as much on the market as a 2011 Chevy Impala.

- Most automakers, General Motors included, include something new on the new model year cars, even if the vehicle was all new the previous year. For example, the 2010 Chevy Camaro has a 304 horsepower V6. The  2011 model has 312 horsepower, as well as the addition of heads-up display. Safe to assume, you'll want the additional features that the new model will have.

Sometimes, though, going with a leftover model can be a good idea. If a model hasn't changed very much from the previous year, saving a ton of money by going end-of-model year is probably a good thing. For example, our half-ton trucks haven't changed much from 2010 to 2011, and you can save about $1,000-$2,000 by going that route.

Just be warned, though, your selection of previous year vehicles is going to be greatly limited. You're getting the bottom of the barrel. You're getting what everyone else didn't want. We can check other dealers' lots to a certain extent, but the likelihood of a trade happening is pretty much non-existent. Go for the deal if you want, but remember, you are at the mercy of the current supply. We can't build any more 2010s!


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