How to shop for a car on Black Friday

Black Friday is a one-of-a-kind shopping day so, if you follow these tips, you could end up saving thousands of rands on the car of your dreams by taking advantage of substantial discounts and other incentives offered by motor retailers. Wynter Murdoch reports

Black Friday is a name given to one of the biggest sales phenomena celebrated by the global retail industry, ostensibly marking the date on which red ink in accounting ledgers – which traditionally signifies financial loss – turns to black as consumers rush to snap up bargains.

Originating in the United States in 1952, Black Friday follows that country’s Thanksgiving holiday – set by presidential decree to be the fourth Thursday in November – and has tended to mark the beginning of the festive season shopping period.

Since the early 2000s the concept has expanded to include Cyber Monday – a day dedicated to fuelling online sales – creating a sales period designed to allow brands and businesses, whether operating from physical outlets or digital platforms, to entice consumers with extra-special offers.

South Africa’s retailers have followed the trend and, in recent years, their Black Friday discounts have attracted shoppers in droves, ABSA reporting in 2015 that credit card spend by its customers increased by about 80% on the day, according to news reports.

This year, Black Friday falls on November 23 and, once again, thousands of deals will be there for the taking – including those proffered by the automotive industry. It’s anticipated by consumer experts that, while hordes of shoppers are likely to head for the doors of supermarkets and department stores, other bargain hunters will go in search of even bigger savings in car showrooms and used vehicle outlets.

Simply put, they believe Black Friday has the potential to become the busiest sales day of the year at car dealerships and, as in past years, IMPERIAL Auto outlets and the brands we represent will be participating in the event.  

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’ve done your research and are properly prepared, you could find yourself getting an extra-special deal on your dream set of wheels. This year, Black Friday bargains are available because of a perfect storm of conditions, among them the fact that sales of passenger vehicles have been slow and stock inventories are in need of clean up.

From that perspective, Black Friday sales will be characterised by deep discounts and generous incentives as dealers attempt to clear their showrooms and drive up purchase numbers by giving car buyers the best opportunities to secure great bargains. So, if you’re in need of a new, nearly new or used vehicle, there couldn’t be a better time for you to clinch a deal.

However, to take advantage of Black Friday transactions, there are a few things you should know:

  • The day is geared for buying, not browsing so, before the time, take note of preview advertisements and visit participating dealerships to inspect what vehicles are likely to be on offer.
  • Aim to test-drive in advance the models you prefer – you might not be afforded the opportunity on Black Friday if dealerships are swamped by hundreds of customers. Know in advance exactly which car on the floor you consider to be right for you.
  • If you’re not first in the queue when showroom doors open, you may find your choice already gone – so it’s wise to have a few alternative selections on hand. But, if you really want the bargain on which you’ve set your heart, make sure you start your procurement quest early.
  • Buying a car on Black Friday may take a little longer than usual, given consumer interest in the event. Be patient and, to speed up the sales process, have all your documentation on hand. If you’ve got a trade-in, have it appraised beforehand – and bring in its corresponding paperwork, too.
  • It’s a good idea to have your financing options approved before you get to the dealership but keep in mind that, on Black Friday, financial agreements signed on the floor may proffer better terms than those negotiated before the time, since special packages are likely to be made available on the day.
  • Know the rules for other perks. Many dealerships could offer accessory packs or other gift incentives – fuel vouchers, for instance – to sweeten an already discounted deal. Clarify what’s included in the sale and the terms and conditions that apply to the incentives.


While being prepared by obtaining quotes beforehand and checking vehicle prices remain essential steps to take when buying a vehicle, Black Friday is a one-of-a-kind shopping day – so be ready to adjust to changing situations and attractive, unexpected incentives. If you do your homework properly, you’ll end up saving thousands of rands – driving away in the car of your dreams!