October and November are ideal months to get a great deal on current model year vehicles, says Michael Waterman, executive editor of Vehix.com. Next year's models are already in stores, and dealers are anxious to move the older—but still new—cars off their lots. Manufacturers will often help with bigger incentives, cash-back programs and low interest rates.
Another way to secure a great deal on a new car is to know when a particular model is being replaced by an updated version. For instance, in 2011, Ford replaced the old Explorer with a completely redesigned crossover, and Honda updated the popular Civic with a new model. "Smart buyers realize these new-model updates often translate to deep discounts on the current models," says Waterman.
You also have a better chance of getting deals toward the end of the month. "Dealers might be a car or two short of a monthly sales quota that will give them a big bonus from the manufacturer," says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. "That's why they'll discount the car to you—whatever they lose on the deal, they'll make up in their bonus."