Labor Day car deals: Bargain or bust?

Take the day off work — and buy a car.

That’s what car dealerships around the nation hope people do with their extra time this Labor Day weekend.

But are the mountains of advertisements a real indicator now is a good time to buy a flashy new ride? Kelley Blue Book Senior Analyst Alec Gutierrez said Labor Day is often a good time to get a deal on a car.

“The manufacturers know that consumers are in that mindset, ‘I’ve got an extended weekend. I’m going to go out and buy a car,’ Gutierrez said. “They tend to kick up their advertising. They tend to kick up production in anticipation to drive these sales holidays and you tend to see an increase in incentive spend to kind of top it all off.”

Gutierrez said Labor Day provides car manufacturers not only with a chance to take advantage of a three-day weekend, but also the opportunity to clear out pre-existing inventory to make room for the next year’s models. 

“I think it’s become almost second nature for consumers to assume that you’re going to be able to get a good deal during these times of year,” he said. “I think that’s reinforced by the manufacturers.”

Though new car sales nationwide have been up several percentage points this year, Gutierrez said compact and mid-size cars are segments where buyers can find the best deals this Labor Day weekend.

Those segments make up a smaller piece of the car market and so car manufacturers are fighting to stay ahead, he said.

“Manufacturers are having to fight a little bit more fiercely to see their models rise to the top of those competitive segments,” he said. “If you’re buying in that segment, you’re going to find a really strong discount.”

Those not seeking to buy a car now should consider the end of the year holidays and Memorial Day weekend as other prime opportunities to find discounts, Gutierrez said. 

But Labor Day still remains a good time to look, he said.

“I would definitely agree that Labor Day is one of the best times to buy a car,” he said. 

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