As manufacturers wheel and deal to move the iron off showroom floors, knowing which vehicles have generous manufacturer incentives and rebates greatly improves your chances of finding the best new-car deals.
Knowing manufacturers that are desperate to sell is also crucial.
Doing that kind of research can be an overwhelming undertaking, unless you know where to look. We called in the cavalry — better known as the Internet in this day and age — and found several Web sites, like CarsDirect.com and Cars.com, that offer information on the latest manufacturer incentives and rebates.
Edmunds.com takes the process one step further. As part of its True Market Value feature, Edmunds provides the average transaction price for vehicles sold in the U.S. and lists those with the greatest average discounted transaction prices in its “Deals of the Month.”
And big deals they are. Take, for example, the 2009 Dodge Ram ST Crew Cab with an MSRP of $30,430 that has been selling for $20,452 — almost 33 percent off sticker price.
According to Edmunds’ senior analyst Jessica Caldwell, the manufacturers with the most deals tend to be Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford among domestic nameplates, and Nissan, Mitsubishi and Suzuki among the imports. “Volkswagen,” she added, “does a lot of lease deals.”
Some deals are available for only one specific payment option — cash purchase, financed purchase or lease — while others apply to two or all three.
Using those Web sites we’ve located a number of interesting deals. The discounted prices include all available incentives and rebates. Caldwell emphasizes that because Edmunds’ transaction prices are based on national averages, consumers should use the data as a starting point to begin their research of regional prices.
Current deal: With an MSRP of $29,800, this pickup has had an average transaction price of $23,871. With seating for up to six, it has a 295-horsepower 4.8-liter, V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, full power accessories and air conditioning.
Current deal: This Nissan pickup, with a sticker price of $31,150, has been selling at $23,222. Its 317-horsepower, 5.6-liter, V-8 engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Six adults fit into an interior with full power accessories, air conditioning and an eight-speaker audio system.
Current deal: The biggest bargain on the entire list, this Dodge truck, with an MSRP of $30,430, has been selling for $20,452. A 4.7-liter, V-8 engine delivers 310 horsepower through a five-speed automatic transmission. Furnished for six, the cabin includes full power accessories, air conditioning and front-to-rear head airbags.
Current deal: The G3, with an MSRP of $15,055, has been selling for $11,446. A 106-horsepower, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine sends output to the front tires via a five-speed manual transmission. This low-frills four-door comes with air conditioning, front-seat side-impact airbags and a six-speaker audio system.
Current deal: With an MSRP of $51,825, the SLK has been selling for $40,099. Its power comes from the combination of a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter, V-8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Seating two, it has full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather seating.
Savings: 23 percent on financed or cash purchase or lease.
Current deal: The Routan S minivan has an MSRP of $25,950 but has been selling for $19,962. A six-speed automatic transmission sends the 197 horsepower generated by the 3.8-liter, V-6 engine to the front wheels. Up to seven passengers can enjoy a cabin with full power accessories, three-row head airbags and air conditioning.
Current deal: With an MSRP of $39,155, it has been selling at $30,913. Turbocharging coaxes 260 horsepower from a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. A five-speed automatic transmission turns the front wheels. Full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating and heated seats all around are all standard.
Current deal: This hardtop convertible with an MSRP of $32,540 has been selling for $26,779. A 221-horsepower, 3.5-liter, V-6 engine delivers its power through a four-speed automatic transmission. A power-operated hardtop, full power accessories and an eight-speaker Monsoon-infused audio system highlight the standard features.
Current deal: This ’09 Vette with an MSRP of $49,120 has been selling for $38,028. Already considered a great deal by many performance enthusiasts, it has a 430-horsepower, 6.2-liter, V-8 engine, six-speed manual transmission, leather seating, full power accessories and dual-zone climate control.
Current deal: With an MSRP of $31,490, the Laredo has been selling for $26,527. A 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter, V-6 engine sends power to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission. Five passengers can comfortably ride in this cabin with full power accessories, air conditioning and tilt-telescoping steering wheel.