High Inventories Make for Hot Deals

Vehicle supplies are returning to normal and in some cases exceeding demand, presenting new opportunities for buyers to negotiate on prices.

Is it Finally Time to Negotiate on Price?

As we outlined earlier this month, higher inventories and longer time on lot intervals are shifting the car market from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. It’s basic supply and demand stuff. When supply was constrained due to supply chain problems, carmakers and dealers raised prices. Now that those kinks in the supply chain have been worked out and vehicles are again rolling off the line, supply can meet and, in some cases, even exceed demand.

One key metric for assessing the gap between supply and demand is time on lot. The longer a vehicle sits unsold, the more urgency a dealer feels to get that vehicle off their books and out the door. This in turn presents an opportunity for car buyers to negotiate prices. When a vehicle went up for sale is part of any basic vehicle history report, so this vital bit of information should be readily available to buyers.

Looking at time on lot in the aggregate can also be valuable information, pointing the way toward makes and models most ripe for negotiation.

Stellantis Leads in Oversupply

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee - jeep.com
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee - jeep.com

Among major automakers, Stellantis “leads” inventory numbers with Dodge dealers carrying a 255-day supply of vehicles, Chrysler sitting at a 184-day supply, and Jeep not far behind at 183 days. Stellantis isn’t the only carmaker with a lot of unsold inventory, some luxury brands are as well. Jaguar might have reason to cut a deal as they are averaging around 176-day supply of vehicles. Hyundai’s luxury arm Genesis is also overstocked with 156 days’ worth of inventory. Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, also has plenty of vehicles on the lot at 138 days’ inventory. It’s obvious why Ford recently paused production on their F-150 and F-150 Lightning pickups as they’re currently carrying a 108-day supply.

The Best Models in High Supply

2023 Ford Mustang Mach E - ford.com
2023 Ford Mustang Mach E - ford.com

A more granular look at time on lot for individual vehicles points to specific soft spots in the market that buyers might be able to exploit to their benefit. For instance, Dodge’s oversupply of 2023 Challengers and Chargers has resulted in zero percent APRs (Annual Percentage Rate) offerings for both of those vehicles. Another Stellantis product, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, had the highest time on lot of any vehicle at 169 days (it starts at $39,096).

Ford models with the highest time on lot are currently the Ford Edge averaging 146 days, the Explorer with 130 days, and the Bronco Sport at 126 days. The all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E is sitting at a 105-day average lot time and as seen its price cut to $39,995 to get sheet metal moving.

Indeed, EVs, a darling of the auto industry just a brief time ago, have seen a slowing of demand as the market shifts from early adopters to a more skeptical general public. This has left manufacturers who’d planned for an EV boom with a glut of unsold EVs that are now getting marked down. The Genesis GV60 is riding a 91-day average, currently the highest among EVs. Making its initial MSRP of $52,000 ripe for negotiation. Chevy’s Bolt EUV (electric utility vehicle) has a 93-day average lot time and already starts well below average for an EV at just $32,245.

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid - hyundaiusa.com
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid - hyundaiusa.com

The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has an average of 125 days on the lot as that model looks to transition to its new generation. Starting at $42,410 and being last year’s model makes the PHEV Santa Fe an exceptionally enticing vehicle to try to get a deal on.

Lastly, we’d like to highlight Mazda. Like Stellantis’ Jeep brand, Mazda has shifted itself upmarket in recent years, elevating prices along the way. As the market moves back to a more normal supply situation and interest rates remain high, Mazda dealer inventories have begun to pile up. The excellent CX-50 has an average of 94 days on lot, a starting price of $31,710, and Mazda is offering zero APR financing. Same goes for the CX-30 (129-days on lot average) which starts at $26,415. The new CX-90 SUV and segment leading compact crossover CX-5 are running 142- and 141-day averages, respectively. In terms of quality, drivability, and styling, Mazda has been firing on all cylinders. The opportunity to negotiate on price due to oversupply might make the next few months the best time to buy into the brand.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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