When I bought a new Subaru a few years ago, I thought I got a great deal. It was the end of the month, so the sales staff was motivated to knock $4,000 off the price and offer low 1.90% APR financing.
Even though I saved some serious cash on my car, with a little more research, I probably could have done better.
“You might be surprised at some of the new car incentives available through car dealers,” said Paul De Angelis, a former car salesman in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “They don’t really tell you about them because they don’t want you to know. If you don’t ask, you could miss out.”
New car incentives are special offers promoted by automakers or car dealerships. They lower the price of cars to encourage people to buy new, but they often aren’t widely advertised.
In some cases, De Angelis said, dealers might be willing to take up to $5,000 off the price of a car that they are trying to move quickly, or if there is a quota to meet. “The less a dealer wants a car on its lot, the bigger the incentives.”
Here are a few offers to ask about when you’re ready to buy a new vehicle.
6 new car incentives that offer big savings
1. Active military service member discount
Not only can your military service help you pay off your student loans sooner, it can also nab you discounts at the dealership.
“Most car manufacturers offer discounts or special programs to members of the military,” De Angelis said.
How much you get depends on the car manufacturer. For example, the Nissan Military Program offers between $500 and $1,000 off the price of a new car for active duty military. Even better, you can combine this military discount with other offers.
Other manufacturers, including Ford, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, GM, and Subaru, also offer military discount programs. However, it’s important to carefully read the eligibility requirements; you might only be able to claim the discount if you buy within a year or two of your military discharge date.
2. College grad special rebate
Are you a recent college grad? If so, you might be able to access a special rebate or other offer. With Toyota’s program, recent (and soon-to-be) grads can get up to $750 off on certain models.
“You just have to be a college student if you want to get a $500 incentive from Ford,” said De Angelis. College grads are also eligible for this rebate. When you apply for this discount, you will need to show proof of your status as a student or recent alumnus.
3. First responder appreciation program
“Some of the best incentives on new cars come from Ford,” said De Angelis. “One of the programs that Ford offers — that some of the other car manufacturers don’t — is for first responders.”
If you work in law enforcement, for a fire department, or as an EMT or paramedic, you might be able to get $500 off the purchase price of your new Ford, according to De Angelis.
However, not all first-responder jobs are covered. The Ford program doesn’t cover dispatchers, search and rescue workers, or registered nurses. Double-check your eligibility ahead of time.
4. Educator discount
Some companies offer a special educator discount. The GM educator program, for example, offers discounts on eligible Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles. However, De Angelis pointed out that this offer only applies to specific models.
The older the model year, the more likely it is to be a part of the program. The exact discount differs by model, so speak with the dealership about available offers and their requirements.
5. Organization or association member deals
Depending on your affiliations with clubs or organizations, you might be able to find a steal at the dealership. For example, “You can get up to $500 off a Ford vehicle if you belong to the American Quarter Horse Association,” De Angelis said.
Check to see if your membership in a particular association offers access to special cash considerations. Contact your trade association to see if they have available partnerships.
6. Savings match
Saving up for your new car can pay off in more ways than one: Dealers may be willing to match a portion of your down payment.
For example, Hyundai will match your down payment up to $500. To qualify, you must open an account through the social savings site BoostUp, and then start saving. When you’re ready to buy, use your BoostUp funds for your down payment to get the savings match.
“This isn’t the only way to get a match, though,” said De Angelis. “Depending on the promotion, you might be able to get dealer cash to match a part of your down payment with cars from other manufacturers.”
How to find new car incentives
While dealers don’t widely advertise their car incentives, you can see what programs you may be eligible for with a little digging.
Search online for new car incentives by the manufacturer. In a search engine, enter the name of the manufacturer, then add “purchase incentives” after. Your local dealer’s website may also have a section devoted to special offers.
Do your homework before you show up at the dealership. “Get an idea of what the sale price should be, and what incentives are available from the manufacturer before you go in,” said De Angelis.
Once you get there, see what other deals your salesman can offer. “Don’t forget to just ask what incentives are available,” De Angelis suggested. “Many dealers can offer bonus cash and other incentives as well.”
The more you can combine deals and incentives on your car’s purchase, the less you’ll pay when you’re ready to buy a car.
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