Automakers are vying to win various annual sales crowns while dealerships are trying to achieve both year-end and month-end goals, a confluence of events that's good for car shoppers, said auto analyst Tom Libby of R.L. Polk & Co.
That's why the airwaves and weekend newspaper ads are stuffed with year-end deals for new cars.
Libby said that employees at dealerships and the sales staffs at manufacturers are compensated in part on whether they achieve year-end sales objectives as well as December goals, "which in effect doubles the pressure to sell new vehicles," Libby said. "This can result in savings to the retail customer over and above what is available at other times of the year."
In the luxury market, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are battling for the 2012 sales crown. Through November, Mercedes-Benz -- less its Sprinter utility van -- leads BMW by just 5,162 units, according to Polk's data. BMW beat out Mercedes-Benz and Lexus last year and has launched aggressive rebates through the end of the year in a bit to retain its top position in the market.
Libby noted that a similar battle is going on for "supremacy in muscle cars."
Through November, GM's Chevrolet Camaro leads the Ford Mustang by only 1,096 cars. Camaro was the winner last year. Libby said people cross-shopping the pony cars should see great deals on both through the rest of December.