Secret Rebates Make Best Car Deals

dealer cash incentivesOn this web site we typically talk about the best car puchase deals, the best finance deals, and the best lease deals. However, there’s a kind of “hidden” rebate that can make any of these deals even better.

We’re talking about factory-to-dealer rebates, sometimes called “dealer cash” or “dealer marketing support.” It’s money that the car manufacturer provides directly to dealers to help them sell specific vehicles. Dealers can use the money any way they wish, such as for advertising or sales events, but more often it goes to customers in the form of a price discount.

Factory-to-dealer rebates are offered month-to-month and only on selected models and styles. The rebates may vary between regions of the country.

At the time of this writing, the largest factory-to-dealer rebates are on leftover 2012 models. The money helps dealers offer large price discounts to customers, which helps get rid of the older models. Therefore, customers looking for a brand new car might find last year’s model significantly less expensive than an almost identical current-year model. However, since inventory is limited, customers may have a hard time finding just the right style, color, and options they want. In fact, some dealers might have none of the leftover models at all.

We can reasonably expect the deals to get better and better as long as there are still leftover models in dealers’ inventory.

Factory-to-dealer rebates can typically be applied to any other kind of deal, although there are sometimes restrictions. If a manufacturer is also offering a direct-to-customer rebate, or a special lease deal, the dealer’s factory cash might be used as additional incentive to sweeten the deal. Since the money comes from the manufacturer, not the dealer, a dealer should be reasonably expected to also kick in a further discount from his own pockets.

Here are some examples of factory-to-dealer rebates being offered at this time. Unless we indicate otherwise, the offers are for 2012 model vehicles:

Acura TSX – $1000 dealer cash ($500 for 2013 TSX)

Cadillac – $4000-$5000 dealer cash (most models)

Ford Flex – $4500

Ford Fusion – $3250

Honda Civic – $1000

Honda Crosstour – $3000

Honda Odyssey – $1250

Hyundai Equus (2013) – $3000

Hyundai Genesis – $5000

Infiniti M37 – $5000

Infiniti M-Series (2013) – $1000-$2000

Infiniti QX56 – $3500

Infiniti G-Series (2013) – $2500-$3500

Lexus CT 200h – $2400

Lexus IS 250 – $2800

Lexus IS 350 – $2800

Lexus IS F – $2800

Mazda Mazda3 – $1250

Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 – $1250

Mazda MX-5 Miata – $3000

Mitsubishi i-MiEV (Electric) - $10,000

Nissan Leaf (Electric) – $8500

Volkswagen Beetle – $3000

Volkswagen CC – $2000

Volkswagen Eos Convertible – $2000

Volkswagen GLI – $1250

Volkswagen GTI – $750

Volkswagen Golf – $500

Volkswagen Jetta – $500

Volkswagen Passat – $1250

Volkswagen Routan – $6500

Volkswagen Touareg – $1000 (sedan), $4500 (hybrid), $1000 (diesel)

We like to remind our readers that you should get price quotes from dealers in your area as you begin your shopping for a new car. The absolute best way to do it is by visiting Edmunds.com and requesting quotes online. It’s a free service and the quotes will always include any manufacturer incentives and factory-to-dealer cash discounts.

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