Amid tight supply, Memorial Day car bargains are a thing of the past, NC auto dealers say


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a time of big sales at car dealerships, but supply and demand is changing that. The car deals shoppers might expect likely aren’t happening this year.

It’s something buyer Casie Earley learned while calling local dealers.

“I read online that Memorial Day is like the best holiday or time of year to buy a car because of the sales but there’s none, like no sales, so I couldn’t really believe it,” Earley said.

According to a J.D. Power report, the average incentive spending per car in May is expected to be $965, down from more than $2,700 a year ago. The report said less inventory means fewer discounts from manufacturers.

Sammy Triesh, Auction Market Direct USA finance manager, said he’s happy with their supply, but it is different from a few years ago.

“Is it the same kind of supply as what we had two years ago, three years ago, no, not at all,” Triesh said. “Back then you would kind of walk around our lot and we had cars double-parked, triple-parked, back here, but we still have a full lot so we still are blessed in our own way.”

Supply issues like microchip shortages can make new cars hard to come by, driving up the price and demand for used cars. So can buyers expect the deals they got in the past?

“No, the deals of the past are kind of the past,” said Randy Cavender the owner of Randy Cavender Motorcars.

Cavender said the used car he’s selling for about $10,000 now might have been $8,000 two years ago.

“The values are so high on used that you almost want to slip into the new because the margins are very tight,” he said. “You’re gonna pay just about as much for a late, late model used as you are a new model. It could be just a few thousand dollars difference. The demand is that high on used product.”

New cars can be pricy too. According to a Kelly Blue Book report, buyers of non-luxury cars paid an average of $872 above sticker price in April and the average luxury car buyer paid $1,865 above sticker price.

Both dealerships don’t offer Memorial Day deals. A tip both dealerships have for buyers is if they see a car you like, act fast or it will be gone.

“There’s just not many cars on the market right now, so definitely, it’s kind of like the housing market — what’s out there you need to grab as soon as possible,” Triesh said.

Earley learned the lesson firsthand.

“Actually, I was looking at one online, came here to test drive that particular one and it was gone,” Earley said.

Cavender said now is also a good time to sell an extra car that you own, but might not need.

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