Consumer advocates urge caution. It's easy to get swept up in all the year-end marketing hype and wind up with a less-than-great deal.
"There is no best time of year to buy a car," said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at the non-profit Checkbook.org. "The whole idea that there are great end-of-the-year sales because dealers are motivated to make their sales quotas is just a myth."
Checkbook runs the CarBargains buying service. It gathers competitive bids from various dealers in the buyer's area to find the lowest price. They find that there are sales throughout the year – especially on slow-selling models. It's all based on supply and demand, Brasler said.
Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book 2014 reminds buyers to be skeptical about the bold savings claims made in the ads. (Read chapter on 5 Basic Steps for Car Buying.)
Read More Google to go straight into car with next Android: Sources
"It's the fine print that can kill you; it can dramatically change the terms of that great-sounding offer," Gillis told TODAY. "And the lower-priced models featured in the ads can often be hard to find on the lot."
Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined two auto dealer groups that were charged with deceptive advertising.
In its complaint, the FTC said some of the TV commercials hid significant information in the fine print, such as the substantial down payment required or added costs. Other ads didn't disclose that the low monthly payments or attractive interest rates offered were only for leases, not sales.
Read MoreVW's Audi to step up investments on models, plants