By Haddon Libby

“Turn Black Friday into Buick Friday”, “A December to Remember”, “Season of Adventure”, “Built for the Holidays”, “Season of Audi” and “Unwrap a Jaguar” are just a few of the slogans urging us to go out a buy a new car as a gift to a love interest, child or ourselves.

Is this in fact the best time of the year to buy a new vehicle?

The experts at think so yet year-end is not the only factor in getting the best prices of the year.

Black Friday coincides with model year ends.  This means that dealerships are interested in clearing out last year’s model to make room for the brand-new edition.  Additionally, Black Friday lands near the end of the month.  Whether you buy a vehicle in November or April, month-end is always a good time to get the best deal.

End of the day purchases are useful too.  As most folks at the dealership just want to go home at day’s end, there is a greater chance that management or finance may give that extra price break or perk to seal the deal more quickly.

The savviest of car buyers who know what they want will find the make and model that they want online prior to visiting the dealership.  If you go to a dealership that has your ideal vehicle in stock, you are more likely to get a better price than if that dealership has to trade one of the vehicles that they have in stock with the other dealership.

If you are okay with a mix of interior or exterior colors that is harder for the dealership to move, you are more likely to get a better price on those vehicles as well.

Finally, go online and the price of the vehicle that you intend on buying.  You should have a good idea as to the price range of the vehicle that you are willing to pay prior to visiting the dealership.  Some dealerships want to sell cars for the service income while others want the sales volumes in order to get cash rebates from the manufacturers.  Still other dealerships are old school and attempt to squeeze ever dollar out of the prospective buyer.

The worst time to buy a new vehicle is when it is in high demand.  This typically happens around tax refund season or at the start of a new model year.

As to which vehicles to buy, Consumer Reports recently released their list of most and least reliable vehicle brands.  Six of twenty-six brands reviewed were rated as ‘More Reliable’.  Displacing Lexus at the top of the reliability rankings was Mazda due to their ‘iterative approach’ to vehicle design.  This approach bases each vehicle redesign on a prior model.  By making incremental changes, there are fewer surprises in the production process.  Mazda’s most reliable car was the Miata.

Toyota ranked second while last year’s most reliable brand, Lexus, fell to third due to issues with their luxury LS sedan.  Buick surprised many by rising ten spots to #4.  The Honda and Hyundai brands were the only other brands to receive Consumer Reports “More Reliable” rating.

Seven brands made the ‘Less Reliable’ list.  Down eleven spots to #26 was Lincoln thanks to its new Aviator.  The Aviator was the least reliable vehicle made by Lincoln by a large margin.

While Tesla stock may be valued at more than most other auto stocks combine, Tesla continues to get weaker reliable scores due to a litany of production issues with their vehicles.  The Model S is rated as subpar with only the Model 3 rated as reliable.

Rounding out the sad seven are Volkswagen, the Mini, Ford, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Managing Partner of Winslow Drake Investment Management.  For more information, please visit or email