Capitalizing on the Crossover Surplus: Tips for Car Buyers

The growing inventory of unsold crossover SUVs allows smart car shoppers to score unbeatable deals. Follow these tips to take advantage of this limited-time chance.

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Research the Crossover Market Extensively

Before setting foot on a dealership lot, devote significant time to researching the crossover market and the factors that led to the current inventory surplus. Check industry news sites and analyst reports to learn about fluctuating gas prices, rising interest rates, manufacturing overestimating growth, and shifting consumer preferences that created the excess. Understanding why dealers and automakers are now overstocked with unsold crossover models will provide a critical context for your negotiations and expectations.

For example, if gas prices rose steeply and remained high for an extended period, demand for less fuel-efficient crossover SUVs likely decreased as buyers moved toward smaller sedans and hybrid models. That insight gives you leverage, knowing dealers are desperate to offload crossovers sitting unsold due to reduced consumer interest. Similarly, suppose automakers flooded the market anticipating sales growth that never materialized. In that case, you can negotiate lower, knowing the dealer overpaid for extra inventory they now need to unload at a discount.

Thoroughly research the latest lease deals, incentives, and discounts on the specific crossover models you’re also interested in buying. Examine the financing rates and average transaction prices other buyers recently paid for the exact vehicle. This establishes a baseline for reasonable target pricing and equips you with concrete figures to support negotiating the lowest realistically achievable deal. Having this data at your fingertips demonstrates you’ve done your homework and are an informed, savvy buyer not to be taken advantage of. The time invested upfront pays dividends in hundreds or thousands in savings once you start engaging with dealers.

Consider All Options with an Open Mindset

The crossover segment encompasses many vehicles across many brands, sizes, and prices. With dealerships overstocked across the board, you can browse extensive choices, knowing incredible deals await. Avoid fixating on just one or two models you’ve had your eye on. Instead, approach the inventory with an open mindset, willing to consider just about any crossover that meets your basic needs and budget parameters.

This exercise may lead you to brands or models you hadn’t considered. Maybe you looked at compact Hyundai or Honda crossovers but noticed even higher discounts on an American brand like Chevrolet. Keep brand affinity out of the equation and focus exclusively on which crossover delivers you the most value and best deal based on your must-have features.

Likewise, remain open-minded on less significant details like color, styling packages, upholstery, etc. If you have your heart set on a burgundy exterior, for example, but the dealer has unsold inventory in blue or gray that allows a deal of $3,000 less, adapt your preferences to maximize savings. Modern vehicles last well beyond color or styling preference shifts with proper maintenance. Sacrifice these less critical vanity details while you have the rare leverage.

Carefully Inspect Top Contenders

Once you’ve narrowed down the field based on budget, needs, and quality of the deal, invest sufficient time test driving and meticulously inspecting your top one or two contenders. Schedule lengthy test drives that allow experiencing acceleration, handling, comfort, and features in varying conditions and driving styles. Pay attention to your instincts and any hesitations that surface while driving. Don’t feel pressured to rationalize away concerns at the moment.

Next, examine the vehicle inside and out more thoroughly than when buying a used one. Check that the exterior paint, body panels, windows, and trim show no damage, inconsistencies, or defects. Look for evidence of wear on interior upholstery, controls, and surfaces. Request a vehicle history report to confirm no prior collision damage or recurring issues. Review available service documentation to ensure routine maintenance was performed on schedule. Consider having a trusted mechanic conduct their comprehensive inspection as well.

While extra diligence is required when you purchase a vehicle, exploiting surplus inventory deals becomes even more critical. Some crossover models may have sold slower due to reliability issues, safety concerns, or other problems. Take advantage of the buyer-friendly market, but protect yourself with careful inspection before finalizing a purchase. Dealers will likely permit this scrutiny, knowing it builds your confidence in the vehicle. Test drives and reviews also help clarify this specific crossover properly suits your needs so that you gain long-term satisfaction from the purchase.

Negotiate Aggressively with Multiple Dealers

Perhaps the most valuable advantage this inventory surplus grants car shoppers is more substantial negotiation leverage. Dealers are much more motivated in the current climate to negotiate pricing and make a deal. But you must be willing to assertively negotiate and employ some specific tactics if you hope to maximize savings:

  • Obtain the dealer’s best offer, then leave, saying you’ll be back after comparing with other dealers. Make them feel this is a serious “final” offer they must beat to earn your business.
  • Get quotes from multiple dealers on the exact vehicle. Use the lowest price secured as powerful leverage for negotiating with others.
  • Mention any weaknesses you discovered while inspecting the vehicle to press for a lower price. For example, point out wear and tear, missing service records, high mileage, etc., that justify a discount.
  • If they won’t budge on the purchase price, shift negotiations to extras like waived documentation fees, free maintenance plans, or discount service coupons to increase overall savings.
  • As a last resort, talk to the sales manager or dealership owner if your rep refuses to negotiate flexibly. Decide what a poorly compromising walk-away point would be beforehand.
  • Consider making your serious offer at month’s end when sales quotas loom, and reps may accept deals they’d otherwise reject to meet targets.
  • Above all, maintain a willingness to walk away if unreasonable about lowering the price. With plentiful crossover inventory, you retain leverage in the current market environment.

Playing hardball may feel uncomfortable initially, but it can yield significant savings off MSRP. The surplus has shifted greater negotiation power to buyers who press dealers to justify pricing and earn their business. By employing these tactics persistently with multiple sellers, you raise the probability of securing the absolute lowest price before inventory levels decline.


The swelling crossover inventory gives car shoppers a prime opportunity to negotiate dream deals, but only for a limited time. Follow the tips above to capitalize on sellers’ urgency to clear these less popular models from their lots. Perform thorough research to understand your negotiating leverage in the current climate. Remain flexible on vehicle details to increase options and maximize savings. Take time to scrutinize choices before purchasing to avoid regrets. Negotiate aggressively on pricing using competing offers for leverage; be willing to walk away until you secure the lowest price. Acting strategically while inventory is still high allows you to connect the crossover you want at a substantial discount. So tap into this chance to drive home significant savings before dealers shift incentives to the next model year.

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