The end of the year can be a very exciting time for people who are interested in the car industry. The weather gets colder, convention centers are getting ready for the big auto shows and fresh models our coming out from behind the scenes. While new cars are coming into the spotlight, last year’s models are being forgotten about.

What does this mean to you as a new car shopper? It all matters what your local dealer has in mind for getting rid of all the old models that are taking up space on their lots. Most importantly, it means automakers and dealers our willing to do quite a lot to make more room for new inventory. For you that can mean big savings and with car dealers being the go to place for buying a new or used cars you can probably score some pretty decent savings.

If you watch football during the holiday season, you have probably seen holiday specials when commercials go into a break and your hit with a stream of car dealers and car manufactures promoting big discounts and special offers.

While at first glance it may sound like a scam, but there is some truth to their promotions. They need to clear out older models and usually car sales are slow during the winter because of holiday shopping and horrible weather. It’s easy to see why dealers are willing to take some money off the initial price.

Early shoppers no need to worry, as long as they don’t intend on outright buying the car. Automakers want their latest models to hit the streets, so they can start driving more traffic to their dealerships. This is why they frequently offer lower lease deals on some of the very first model cars that come to their lot. Those deals are typically not as big of discounts on older models, but it does allow you to be one of the first on the road with a new car and still have some cash in your pocket. Remember, winter is a very slow season for cars, so dealers our looking for ways to get in with the new and out with the old.

Here is a look at some year-end sales events that might look familiar:

Honda – year end blowout

Known as Happy Honda Days, this year-end clearance typically offers long term financing at a low interest rate. But last year’s deal included 0.9% APR over a course of 60 months for 2010 Civic, Fit, Accord Crosstour, CR-V and Hybrid Insight models.

Lexus – December to Remember Event

The promotion was from its familiar TV campaign featuring a shiny new Lexus in a big red bow. But last year Lexus focused on lease details for its 2011 models, offering specials on its IS 250 AWD, ES 350, HS 250th and more. Those looking to purchase could also get 1.9% APR on all 2011 IS 250or IS 350 sedan and the 2011 ES 350.

Chevrolet – Red Tag Sales Event

Chevy uses big red price tags. In 2010 this sale event meant deferred payments for three months if you used their financing, you could get 0%APR and $1500 of the price tag of a car which was billed as “holiday allowance”. HHR, Impala, and Silverado models got the same deals, but without the $1500 discount. Aveo and Cruze models were only offered with differed payments.

Chryslers Year-End Wrap Up

Chrysler offers many deals across the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, along with the typical 0% financing and low lease deals. Chrysler has been known to throw in special deals like AWD, 4 Wheel drive and DVD systems for free. It will be interesting to see if there will be any deals on the returned FIAT brand this year.

Note, not all manufactures offer year-end deals those that do generally don’t include all models, like Mercedes Benz only offered incentives on S class sedans last year, all though the deal was great with $10,000 in savings on each car.

To find a good car deal, approach dealers with flexibility on different cars and see where you can get the best deal, one last thing to remember is resale value. The down side to getting a car at the end of the year is you often get a car that’s already one year old. Cars depreciate with age that 2011 model will be worth less than an identical 2012 model sitting next to it on the lot.

If the last point I made doesn’t bother you too much now is the time to buy a car. Remember you can always drive away with a great deal if you go in with an open mind.

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