Deferred Payments: Read the Fine Print

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Until someone downs that last Labor-Day brat, Fiat Chrysler Automobile's Summer Clearance event will allow you to finance a new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram or Fiat without car payments for the first 90 days. Chevrolet's Labor Day sale has a similar deal: Finance a new Chevy, and you can take three months off before your first car payment.

Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast.

Related: Chevrolet, Ford Kick off Labor Day Sales Early

Make sure you read the fine print. Deferred payments might seem like a win-win, but the terms can vary — and the details make a big difference in how smart it might be to put off those payments.

By Kelsey Mays | August 26, 2014 | Comments (1)

Chevrolet, Ford Kick Off Labor Day Sales Early

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It's still a couple weeks before you can fire up the barbecue and watch your alma mater get steamrolled by the Southeastern Conference, but some car dealers are kicking off Labor Day early — on the sales front, that is. Automotive News reports (subscription required) that Ford launched its Labor Day sale on July 29. The sale, which runs through Sept. 2, includes most of its lineup save the 2015 Mustang, F-Series and commercial vans, according to Automotive News.

Related: July's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

We checked the offers, and most involve zero-percent financing for as long as 72 months, or offers of up to around $3,000 off an Escape, $3,500 off an Edge and $3,500 off a Fusion (all 2014s). That's more than what Ford offered on the Fusion a year ago, but incentives don't appear to have increased a great deal in the past month, so this summer sale could mostly be a new name for existing spiffs.

GM, meanwhile, started its Chevy Labor Day Sale early because, as GM spokesman Jim Cain told Automotive News, "Ford started its Labor Day sale a little bit early." The brand's sale includes three months' deferred payments on the 2014 Silverado, Traverse, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro and Impala. Cash incentives on those models amount to $2,500 on the Cruze, $2,000 on the Malibu, $1,000 on the Impala, $2,000 on the Camaro and $2,000 on the Traverse (all 2014s). Chevrolet is GM's only brand that's offering the 90-day deferrals, Cain told us. GM isn't offering the deal for its Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Amid Recalls, Don't Expect GM to Turn on the Deals

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Embroiled in an ignition-switch recall that affects 2.6 million cars worldwide and 2.2 million in the U.S., GM has been making headlines for nearly three months. Does the controversy mean lost sales and better deals for car shoppers as the automaker tries to make up lost ground?

More on GM Ignition Recall

Not so much. On May 1, GM announced that April sales were up 6.9 percent, outpacing most analysts' expectations. Even Chevrolet, the brand whose Cobalt compact and HHR hatchback topped the recalls, gained 5.3 percent.

Still, by day's end it was clear the General would lose some market share; after all, industry sales gained 8.1 percent overall. And when May incentives rolled out the next day, GM had raised cash offers on a number of cars. The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, Camaro and Traverse saw upticks in cash-back and cash-with-financing deals versus month-ago and year-ago levels (on 2013 models at the time). GMC, Buick and Cadillac saw fewer incentive increases, but the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and Encore did see more cash on the hood versus year-ago 2013 levels. In fact, year-over-year purchase incentives across GM's lineup appreciably decreased on just two models.

By Kelsey Mays | May 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

GM, Ford Rev Up Deals for Black Friday

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Big-box retailers aren't the only ones broadcasting Black Friday discounts. Automakers have thrown their, uh, pilgrim hats in the ring. GM and Ford are offering incentives for deal-hunting car shoppers that go well beyond existing programs. GM has Black Friday specials among its Chevrolet, GMC and Buick brands. The automaker's Cadillac division, like many luxury brands, has separate holiday-themed deals. The same goes for Ford, whose namesake brand, but not its Lincoln luxury division, has a Black Friday program.

We tallied up the best Black Friday deals you can find once the food coma subsides. As always, regional pricing may vary so check with your local dealer for specifics.

By Kelsey Mays | November 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford Hopes Focus EV Price Cut Sparks Sales

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If you've noticed automakers like Nissan, Honda and GM reducing the prices of their electric vehicles in recent months, then Ford's plan to slash the 2014 Focus EV's price won't come as a shock. Despite Ford's insistence that it would not follow suit, the Detroit automaker is now wooing mainstream buyers with a $4,000 discount on the EV for 2014, according to the Detroit News.

The new base price for the Focus EV is $35,995, including a $795 destination charge. That's down more than 10% from the previous base price, though still more than $6,000 costlier than the Nissan Leaf, the newspaper noted. A $7,500 federal tax credit knocks the price down to $28,495, including destination; in California, an additional state tax credit takes the price down another $2,500.

By Matt Schmitz | July 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

Save Some Cash With Memorial Day Deals

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Somewhere between that pile of grilled meat and your food coma, you may want to pencil in some car shopping this Memorial Day weekend. It's a weekend for car dealers to end May on a high note — and it's never too early to sell down some 2013 inventory in advance of the 2014s, the bulk of which will show up during the next four months or so.

We checked out the cash and financing deals from the biggest automakers; take a look below to see what's in store as you pass by all those colorful tents.

By Kelsey Mays | May 23, 2013 | Comments (0)

Two Big Family Haulers, Lots of Incentives

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A good deal can make an ugly car more palatable or a mediocre car more desirable when the end result means a ton of money off the asking price. Maybe the Ford Flex's hearse-like styling becomes acceptable or the Chrysler Town & Country's minivan stigma less traumatic when there are serious incentives on the table, which happens to be the case with the 2013 Ford Flex Limited with the Titanium Package and 2013 Chrysler Town & Country Limited we recently tested.
 
As configured, the Flex and Town & Country offer similar gas mileage ratings, seating for seven, comparable horsepower and equal safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Plus, nearly identical retail prices are separated by a mere $170: $42,570 for the Flex and $42,440 for the Town & Country as-tested, not including destination charges. The amount of money taken off the top is impressive with enough discounts to take the whole family on a summer vacation in either family hauler. 

By Joe Bruzek | March 8, 2013 | Comments (0)

End of Year Luxury Battle Means Deals for Shoppers

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A battle has quietly been waged over the last year, with the prize being the sales crown for luxury cars here in the U.S. For most of this century, that title has been solidly in the hands of Lexus, but the Japanese earthquake and tsunami tragedy of 2011 left the brand with pinched inventory, allowing BMW to take the crown for the first time in more than a decade.

Now, as 2012 comes to a close, the sales champion title may be changing hands again, as Mercedes-Benz has been successfully pushing hard all year to become the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. — a fight BMW has vowed not to give up on.

This brand battle is a good thing for car shoppers.

By Aaron Bragman | December 21, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Ford Escape, Fusion Get Big Incentives

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We've complained loudly that no matter how good Ford's new products may be, the price on the window sticker is generally higher than the competition. The competition these days happens to be pretty darn good, too.

Perhaps that's why Ford is putting some sizable incentives on the redesigned 2013 Escape compact crossover and just-released 2013 Fusion sedan.

By David Thomas | November 13, 2012 | Comments (11)

Discontinued Cars See Deep Discounts

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The transition from one model year to the next usually foretells the demise of a few good worn-out nameplates. Come 2013, say goodbye to models like the Mitsubishi Galant, Kia Sedona and the Hyundai Veracruz.

While there’s probably not much love lost for these mediocre models, they will likely be deeply discounted and appealing to frugal shoppers.

The dying midsize Galant, available only with a single four-cylinder powertrain and plenty of standard features, is one of the most deeply discounted models on the list. It can be had for the low price of about $19,100 (including destination) after discounts. Mitsubishi consistently has offered $3,500 cash back on Galants during the past few months.

By Colin Bird | September 26, 2012 | Comments (1)

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