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Buy Now, Save Big

At $329 a month and $0 due at signing, the Mazda CX-5 is one of many vehicles that have great lease deals in December.

It used be that waiting until the end of the year to buy a car made it easier to get a great deal. However, analysts say this is one year where procrastinating may not pay off.

“This year, when looking at the data, we don’t see specific days sticking out as much when the discounts will be bigger,” says Jesse Toprak, vice president, market intelligence at TrueCar, Inc. “There’s a better balance of supply and demand, and dealers aren’t as desperate to discount as much.”

Despite this, Toprak says shoppers can expect an 8 percent discount on average for any new vehicle, and more than 10 percent for 2012 model-year vehicles. He also suggests that shoppers not wait until the end of the month to take advantage of these sales. “Now is a good time to buy. You can wait until early next year, but the 2012 selection will be less and your color choices and options will be limited.”

Kelley Blue Book says that new-car shoppers can expect a 7 percent discount on average for a 2012 model-year vehicle, and a little less of a discount for new 2013 models. Shoppers will also find bigger discounts on certain vehicles over others. “Buyers looking for a truck or SUV will find the best opportunities for savings since there are a slew of models available with more than 100 days supply nationwide,” Kelley Blue Book says in its December market report. “Popular models such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ram 1500 and Ford F-Series are available with thousands of dollars in rebates, thanks to high supply. These may be some of the best deals available all year, so buyers in-market for a truck will want to act quickly.”

[Read more Buy Now, Save Big]

Before you sit down to negotiate with the salesperson or finance manager, Toprak says it’s essential to have some idea of what a good price is for the vehicle you’re considering. “Checking the market price of a vehicle is a must before you go to the dealership. Would you buy a stock without knowing the market price?” The U.S. News Best Price Program helps you find the best local prices in your area and gives you an idea of what others are paying for the vehicle you want to buy.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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