As 2019 models arrive, dealerships are struggling to sell current inventory.
Now is a good time to buy a car, as many dealerships are struggling to get rid of their 2018 inventory as 2019 models arrive. This may be good news for consumers, but it is bad news for automakers who are desperately trying to get rid of 2018 models in order to start selling their 2019 inventory. Automotive News says the issue became particularly bad last year in 2017 and dealerships are facing the same issue this year as well.
In the final quarter of 2017, only 46% of new vehicles sold in the US were 2018 models. This number was 73% a decade ago according to Edmunds, so clearly, the issue is getting worse. The issue is even spilling over to the first quarter of the following year. Back in the first quarter of 2017, nearly 20% of all new vehicles sold were year-old 2016 models - that's more than double what it was a decade ago. At the beginning of 2018, Nissan was struggling to get rid of leftover cars and was forced to offer big discounts and pay sales staff a bonus for selling 2017 models.
Some automakers are better positioned than others to avoid this issue based on when new models arrive at dealerships. GM, for example, didn't start selling the 2017 Chevy Bolt until December of 2016 and the 2019 Silverado just arrived at dealers in August. Ford is also well-position according to Erich Merkle, the company's head of sales analysis. The 2019 F-150 is already on the road as is the 2019 Lincoln Navigator. "We're in great shape," Merkle said. This situation may be bad for the automakers, but now is a great time to buy a car if you don't mind taking a leftover 2018 model.