6 Valuable Discounts the Car Dealership Probably Won’t Tell You About

New car incentives

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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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
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8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
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