Buy an 2011 or wait until dealer gets the 2012 models?

I have a question about buying at the end of the model year. I plan to finance my car for five or six years and will put a lot of miles on it by commuting to work and back. I found an '11 model I like, but I am wondering if I should wait on the '12 models. Reason: Will the car drop drastically in value since I am purchasing at the end of the model year and technically it is already a year old? or is that rationale not relevant anymore since models come out at varying times? I am just thinking if I should need to trade for whatever reason after three years, if I buy the 11, I may not be able to do so. Advice? Buy now or wait for 12’s? Thanks!

It depends. I just went through the same debate with myself, and I went with a 2011 choice. Why? Better price - they wanted to clear out their inventory, so I could take advantage of our mutual interest, and I was happy with that result. Note that I also paid cash for my car (why pay interest?) but you might find some financing incentives at the end of the year too.

The other factor - I knew that there were no big changes for the 2012 model compared to my 2011, and the 2011 features had been tested over the past several model years. I don’t like to be the first to try a new mechanical version of something - the leading edge can sometimes be the bleeding edge.

If you keep the car for a long time, it doesn’t matter. If you were to sell a BMW 325i sedan after 6 years, the 2012 would likely go for about $1800 more than the 2011. But if you keep it for 10 years, the difference will be more like $500. The calculations are based on 2011 vs. 2010, but the basic notion should hold. If you plan to sell when you pay off the loan, I’d get the 2012. If the deals on the 2011 are good enough and you plan to keep the car about 10 years, consider the 2011.

With a lot of miles the difference in value of the '11 vs '12 won’t be significant in 5+ years. If you planned to trade the car in 2 years then I’d go for the '12. If the difference in price is very small go for the '12. If the deal is some significant $$$ off for the '11 and you keep it 5 or more years then go for the deal on the '11.

I think you should be able to get a much better deal on an '11 and the upfront savings would be much more than what you will get extra when you trade in/sell.

It depends upon the car. If the make has little in the way of design change, I’d negotiate on the 2011. If there is a big change, I would not want to be someone’s lab rat and still go for the 2011. The only time I might go for a 2012 is if it’s on the second to third year of a model run with proven reliability and had all the features I wanted.

If the 2011-2012 models are little changed, then you will suffer no big loss of value…If the company is planning an “all-new” model in 2012, then your 2011 model becomes very dated and it’s price will drop quickly. This assumes the new model is a success…