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Why Black Friday is the best day of the year to buy a car

Why Black Friday is the best day of the year to buy a car
If you are in the market for a car, head to an auto dealer onBlack Friday. That's the best day of the year to buy a car, according to calculations by automotive web site TrueCar.

Based on sales data for the last 10 years, plus current market conditions, TrueCar estimates that discounts of more than 20% will be available Friday on some models. Thediscounts result partly because Black Friday is near the end of the month, when dealers push to meet their monthly sales quotas. And manufacturers already are offering their year-end rebates and other incentives to clear out the 2011 model year. "On top of the manufacturer incentives, dealers now are pushing specific Black Friday discounts and advertising them," says Jesse Toprak, chief industry analyst for TrueCar.

Most of the best deals are on remaining 2011 models, like the 22% discount projected by TrueCar for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup, selling for an average $17,370 including a $4,500 rebate from General Motors. But some 2012 models carry big discount: Ford has a $2,500 incentive on its 2012 Escape small SUV, selling at a 13.5% discount for an average of $22,045. The company just unveiled its redesigned 2013 Escape to go on sale next summer and is eager to clear out the 2012s.

Other great Black Friday deals cited by TrueCar include the 2011 Mitsubishi Endeavor small SUV, off 23% at $22,334, the 2011 Chrysler 200 sedan, off 16.5% at $18,368 and the Nissan Maxima sedan (pictured above), off 15% at $27,664.

Great lease deals too

If you are among the 25% of new car customers who lease their vehicles, you also will find some good deals.Chevrolet's medium-sized Cruze, one of the success stories of 2011, is leasing for $169 a month over three years, with $659 due at signing. And Volkswagen's Jetta is leasing for three years at $219 a month with nothing down.

If you plan to chase a door-buster special on Friday instead of car shopping, don't worry -- the first two weeks in December remain a good time for great car deals, says TrueCar's Jesse Toprak. Early in the month, you can still find big discounts on 2011 models with choices on color and options. Later in December, pickings will be slim. You don't want to wind up an eggplant-colored model full of expensive options you don't want.

Aside the year-end sales in November and December, the biggest discounts occur as holiday specials, especially the Fourth of July, Toprak says. But if you are a good shopper, you don't have to limit yourself to those dates. Says Toprak: "If you do your homework, you can find a good deal almost any time of year."