Many Americans like to make big-item purchases – cars, for instance – part of the excitement of the holidays. There’s something about a big red bow atop a new vehicle that makes the purchase memorable.
And the car dealers have learned that piggy-backing on such events as Black Friday, offering good deals and holiday discounts, helps their trade.
For instance, Lexus, trying to overtake Mercedes and BMW as leaders in the luxury car market, has its “December To Remember” promotion in full swing. Leases on low-mileage cars in the $40,000 range are going for $319 per month with a $3,000 down payment.
GM’s Chevrolet started heavy-duty advertising on Black Friday weekend, offering zero percent financing for six years or 20 percent off the sticker price on many of its 2015 models. And other manufacturers are making similar offerings to attract holiday sales. If you are in the car-buying mode, here are some things to keep in mind.
You should be able to wangle at least 10 percent off the sticker price of an unsold 2015 model, possibly more on higher-priced large trucks and SUVs. Some Ford dealers have made a cost reduction of more than $9,600 on some 2015 F-150 trucks. That’s the country’s most popular vehicle. Lease deals are low because interest rates are low and resale values high for vehicles coming off lease. It’s nice to have the 2015 stock off the lot so the 2016 models can show to best advantage. But dealers advise against buying something less than satisfactory just because it appears to be a good year-end deal. If you don’t like something about the vehicle when you take it off the lot, you’ll like it a whole lot less down the road.
Understandably, dealers make the best deals on the models they have the most of on hand. Slow-selling midsize cars, small vehicles and electric/gas hybrids are in that category. The manufacturers sometimes make incentives available to dealers to help promote sales of the slow-selling models. It pays to shop around rather than make a hasty decision.
Automakers keep tabs on inventories by dividing sales per day into the number of vehicles on the lots. A 60-day supply is considered adequate.
The deals are out there, so if your merry Christmas includes a new vehicle, proceed. But proceed with caution and take a clear-eyed look at all the options so you’ll drive into the New Year with the best possible deal.