If you're starting to sense desperation in the new car market, you're not entirely off the mark. Even the most optimistic sales forecasts expect 2008 new car deliveries to fall to a level not seen since the early 1990s.
The result for consumers is stepped-up programs of rebates, cut-rate financing and factory-to-dealer incentives designed to move the metal off dealer lots as the spring and summer buying season approaches.
More than 150 models now can be bought with some measure of low financing, rebates or dealer incentives. And this doesn't include the numerous low-payment lease offers that are cropping up.
But consumers who are considering those leases should be wary of big down payments and mileage allowances that can be a little as 10,000 miles a year. Many people who sign on for such deals wind up paying huge mileage penalties at the end of the lease.
Not surprisingly, it's the SUVs and pickup trucks that are seeing the deepest discounts, and the best bargains can be found at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. However, some imports are also offering some attractive incentives.
Here are 10 vehicles that are among the most deeply discounted. These are among the models most likely to save a buyer thousands of dollars off the manufacturer's sticker price.
|Top 10 new car discounts|
|•||Chrysler 300C. The full-sized sedan comes with either a $3,000 rebate or financing ranging from zero percent to 4.9 percent.
|•||Dodge Ram 1500. Dodge's full-sized pickup truck carries either a $5,000 rebate or zero percent to 1.9 percent financing.
|•||Ford Explorer. Once the most popular sport utility vehicle, the Explorer carries rebates from $3,000 to $4,000 and financing from 0.9 percent to 6.9 percent.
|•||Mercury Grand Marquis. A large sedan that can carry six people and their luggage, it can be had with a rebate of $5,500 to $6,500 or financing of zero percent to 3.9 percent.
|•||Cadillac DTS. The large sedan in the Cadillac lineup is not as quick a seller as the new, smaller CTS. So, GM is offering a $3,000 rebate or 5.9 percent to 7.9 percent financing.
|•||GMC Envoy. This midsized SUV has been packed with a $3,000 rebate or 2.9 percent to 5.9 percent financing.
|•||Nissan Pathfinder. Nissan, which is not enjoying the same sales success as some other Japanese manufacturers, is offering deals on this SUV that include rebates of $2,250 to $3,250 or 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent financing.
|•||BMW 7 Series. While not offering direct-to-customer rebates on its luxury 7 Series sedan, BMW is giving dealers $3,500 to $5,000 in incentives. Such incentives should be a part of a buyer's price negotiations.
|•||Land Rover LR2. Land Rover is offering a $3,000 incentive on this SUV.
|•||Lexus RX 350. Lexus is being a little stingier than some other manufacturers when it comes to incentives, but is offering dealers as much as $2,000 on the RX 350.
If any of these vehicles meet your needs, check them out. But keep in mind that a car or truck that falls outside of your buying parameters is no bargain, no matter what it costs.
Rebates, financing and incentives may vary by region, although most are applicable nationwide.
|Here are this week's reader questions:|
|•||Top 10 deeply discounted 2008 cars|
|•||How can I get rid of a smoky-smelling truck?|
|•||Does my dealer have to finance my purchase?|
|•||Who decides which APR type to use?|