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Steve Finlay
Steve Finlay

Auto Industry’s Labor of Love: Labor Day Weekend

Automakers and car dealers love to wrap blowout sales around holidays.

I have an alt-reality theory: The auto industry created Labor Day to sell more cars across the nation.

It’s amazing what a supercharged time for auto sales the Labor Day weekend has become. I don’t really need to be set straight as to the holiday’s origins. I know Labor Day isn't an idea that came out of a national dealer council brainstorming session.

And no, “people are not buying cars to celebrate Labor Day,” says Aaron Krane, the founder and head of Drive Motors, an online car-buying tool that’s on subscribing dealers’ websites.

Instead, consumers are deal hunting. For the auto industry, Labor Day weekend is an opportune time to dangle incentives and discounts to thin out the current model year’s inventory. (Bigger discounts come at year’s end, but inventory selections are better now.)

The auto industry loves to wrap blowout sales around holidays throughout the year. ’Tis always the season to pitch a car.

Some holidays do better than others. Car shopping spikes around Presidents Day in February, Memorial Day in May and Independence Day in July. Sorry Christopher, Columbus Day in October isn’t so razzle dazzle. But Labor Day and Christmas sure are.  

Dealers not only see more traffic in their showrooms on long holiday weekends, they see it on their digital car-buying tools such as Drive Motors, Krane says.

“With every passing year, online transaction activities are mirroring offline activities,” he says. “Labor Day is an example of that. The online channels are benefiting from all the seasonal promotions, rebates and discounts.”

Last year on Drive Motors, sales spiked 47% the Friday before Labor Day compared with the daily average for September 2017.

Holiday auto sales rock “because everyone is working in unison,” Krane says. “OEMs are offering rebates, dealers are promoting discounts and technologies are promoting online-transaction capabilities.”

Plus, there’s that extra day off to car shop. Happy holiday.

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