It’s the last day of the month at Gary Crossley Ford in Kansas City that means that every single employee is busy helping every single customer get every deal done, but VP of Marketing Joey Little and General Sales Manager Todd Gentry find time to sit down and talk about the end of the month car sales.
We’ve all heard the ads, right?
“Hurry in now before the end of the month.”
And we’ve all had salespeople lean in and turn the pressure up just a little because it’s the end of the month.
Then there’s your brother-in-law who tells you at every holiday gathering that cars are cheaper at the end of the month for the same reason that cops write more tickets at the end of the month: quotas.
Don’t tell your brother-in-law, but it turns out, on this one occasion, he’s at least partially right
“The manufacturer has goals that they have set for us that they want us to hit. We want to make sure we hit that number, not only for us, but for them too. Because we want to make sure we’re getting our fair share of what they allocate in the market. So that way, on the next wholesale, the market and ourselves can get more vehicles allocated to us. So I mean, that’s just one of the several reasons but yeah, the last day of the month, a huge deal, the end of the month, a big deal,” Todd says.
That’s a big reason that the end of the month is a big deal.
The more cars and trucks they sell this month, the more cars the manufacturer will ship to them to sell next month. With the massive new car inventory shortage in the United States and around the world, dealers are fighting tooth and nail to get every vehicle they can.
But hands down, the biggest reason that the end of the month is such a big deal in the car business is because of factory incentives.
Every automotive manufacturer from Ford and Chevy, Honda and Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler, takes a look every month at their inventory situation, region-by-region, their production pipeline, and their own corporate goals. They swirl all that information around and announce a new set of incentives, usually rebates and discount financing, good for that month only.
These incentives can vary widely from one part of the country to another and can change dramatically from month to month. When a salesperson tells you that a certain deal is only available until the end of the month, they’re not twisting your arm or trying to create a false sense of urgency. They just know that the factory incentives are going away. That can affect the price of a new car or truck by thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s like free money, baby. And there ain’t nothing better than free money
Cash on the hood is what they call rebates in the car business. Every covered vehicle comes with a little extra free money that the manufacturer will just give you, for free, as long as you buy before the end of the month.
Or you could take what’s behind door number 2: discount financing.
The Ford F150 has been the number one selling vehicle in America for 45 consecutive years. It’s a badge of honor, a point of pride, and Ford is pretty keen on keeping that streak alive. At the end of August 2020, when Joey and Todd were recording this episode, Ford had incentives to boost sales on the F150 including zero-percent financing for 72 months, On a top-of-the-line truck, that can add up to real money
For instance, Gary Crossley Ford recently sold a Shelby F150 Lariat.
“What they do is they take a 502a Lariat, the highest Lariats you can get, and they supercharge it 775 horsepower. They put a lift kit, wheels, tires, fender flares, bed cover, bedrug, custom interior, custom gauges, everything. Shelby branded. It’s a super, super cool truck. They never last long. The MSRP is a little over $114,000,” says Todd, fanboying out over the truck.
Ford was offering to finance that truck with zero-percent interest. Where else can you borrow six figures for six years and not pay one thin dime in interest?
So if your salesperson says you can save a little if you buy before the end of the month, you might be able to save a ton.
How to get top-secret discounts and incentives that no one else in the world knows about
Not all of the rebates, discounts, and incentives expire at the end of the month, though. Ford has a wide variety of discount programs: military, recent graduates, students, Todd’s even looking into AARP discounts. Anyone that meets the criteria.
Then there are the instant cash incentives that are only available right now and only for you.
If you regularly service your vehicle at the dealership or use Ford Pass, then Ford can monitor your vehicle’s mileage, condition, and the amount you owe on that, compare that data to their inventory and production data, and serve you up an instant cash incentive based on your unique situation.
These offers can be especially helpful to owners who are upside down – when the remaining loan balance is higher than the vehicle’s value – because the banks base their finance offers on sales prices and those custom incentives can be used to pay off the financing on the vehicle you’re trading in.
Todd says that’s one of the great things about building long-term relationships with customers. By staying in touch and servicing your vehicle at the dealership, you can trade earlier and save thousands.
You can listen to The Ask a Car Dealer podcast in all the usual places people listen to podcasts:
Ask A Car Dealer is hosted by Joey Little and Todd Gentry. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers, we’ve got opinions and they are 100% our own.