What Happens To Cars That Never Get Sold? (We Checked)

Have you ever driven by a car lot and been amazed at the number of vehicles there? If you drive by often, you probably see some vehicles sit for a long time while others are barely there before selling.

So, what happens to the vehicles that no one buys?

Keep reading to find out.

What Happens To Cars That Don’t Get Sold?

Cars that don’t get sold at the car dealer will typically be auctioned away to the highest bidder in bulk. They might end up as taxis, leasing cars, or used as rental cars. It’s also possible that cars are sold to private buyers at discounted prices.

It never hurts to ask a car dealer if they have any older models in stock.

If you’re open to driving last-years model you can often save some money here!

How long will a New Car Sit at a Dealership before they Need to Move It?

Most new cars will be sold within a week of arriving at the dealership. Some cars will be sold within hours of arriving, while others might sit for about eighteen to twenty-one days.

If a new car remains unsold for more than seventy-one days, a dealership will be anxious to sell it.

Do Unsold Cars from Previous Years Ever Get Sold?

Car dealerships buy new cars directly from manufacturers for a set cost. The dealership’s goal is to mark up the vehicles and make a profit by selling them to customers.

When vehicles go unsold, the dealership will try to entice customers to buy the vehicle.

The longer a new vehicle sits on the lot, the longer a dealership can’t afford to buy new inventory from a dealership.

receiving keys of her new off-road car from dealer

Dealerships do have a bottom line that they usually won’t drop below, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

So, yes, eventually, all cars and SUVs from earlier years get sold.

However, dealerships will discount the previous year’s vehicles to make room for new inventory. In addition, some dealerships will sell entire fleets of SUVs from previous years to other dealers to help move the vehicles faster.

Check also: Are new cars with high mileage worth buying?

How Long are cars and SUVs Considered “Brand New”?

SUVs are “brand new” until they are driven off the dealership lot after purchase. Also, as soon as a the next year’s model is released, and ready for sale, the SUVs from the previous year will no longer be counted as “brand new”.

A brand-new car should have no signs of wear.

The upholstery should be covered in plastic, and protectant coverings should be placed on the floor to protect the interior.

When looking at electric cars it’s also worth diving into whether you should buy a new or used model – it’s not as simple. We have an article here on whether you should buy new or used electric cars.

Is there any Way to Buy Unsold Car Inventory?

As a last resort to get rid of older inventory, dealerships will sell unsold SUVs from previous years to car auctions.

But, most dealerships try to avoid selling to car auctions because they lose money.

Some car auctions aren’t open to the public. Instead, only used and new car dealers are allowed to attend these auctions.

When car auctions are open to the public, there are certain things to be aware of before purchasing. For starters, you might not be able to test drive the vehicle before you take ownership of it.

Most vehicles sold at auction are sold as is.

It might be possible to get a brand-new SUV warranty handed down to you, but you won’t know until you buy the vehicle at auction.

Lastly, when buying a brand new SUV at auction, you have an unclear history on the vehicle. What this means is you might not know who previously owned the vehicle, where the vehicle originated, or why the vehicle is being sold at auction.

While there is some uncertainty about buying a brand-new car at auction, you will likely save a ton of money. The bottom line on most vehicles at a car auction is the cost before an added value is attached.

How Much can you Save when Buying Last Year’s Car Models?

You can typically save 10-15% on a brand-new car if you wait till the end of the year or till the next model has arrived. But it’s not always desirable as you will lose the same amount in depreciation if you intend to sell the car within a few years.

The best time to buy a new SUV is at the end of the model year to get the best price.

At this time of year, dealerships want to sell as many cars as possible, and they instruct their employees to consider all offers.

New model years are on the way, which offers a massive incentive for dealerships to sell as many of the previous year’s models as possible. As we already stated, dealerships lose money when they send unsold new cars to auction.

So, if the vehicles are scheduled to head to auction soon, buyers might be able to save thousands by negotiating a great price.

Dealerships are also eager to sell because it’s easier to sell a new model than a previous one.

Buyers are always most interested in what is new and exciting. So getting them excited about a previous year model can be more difficult.

But buyers who don’t care about the newest bells and whistles can use this to their advantage. Buyers in the know can ask for better deals and discounts than would have been available early in the SUV’s model year.

Examples of incentives that dealerships might offer include 0% interest if buyers choose the previous year rather than the latest year.

Other incentive deals include cashback offers and fantastic lease deals.

Final Thoughts

It’s best to avoid buying a new car on a whim. Instead, do your research, plan your purchase for the end of a model year, and try to find out how long the vehicle you are interested in has been on the dealership lot.

With this information, you can use your knowledge to score the best deal on a new SUV.


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