Buy a car? Right now? Really?
Job losses, global recession, foreclosures, frozen credit...would you believe us if we told you there has never been a better time to be a car buyer? We're talking full blown, White House-mandated initiatives to help get you in a car. We're talking the most extreme guarantees ever offered by manufacturers. And yeah, there are plenty of cash incentives too if you just want a great deal. So if you are the type of person who camps outside of Best Buy on Black Friday, waits for a market to bottom out before you buy, or have just been looking for a reason to get in a new car, here are our top 10 reasons 2009 is officially a great time to be a car buyer.
Hyundai knows a thing or two about giving people confidence to buy; their 10 year / 100,000 miles warranty is the best in America. Hyundai deserves a lot of credit for being the first manufacturer to give buyers confidence to buy in the face of a turbulent job market. Their Assurance program allows buyers to return new car purchases without penalty to the dealer in the event of a job loss or other life-altering event.
GM Total Confidence
The GM Total Confidence promotion takes a four-pronged approach. One, it offers product protection in the form of a 5-year / 100,000 mile powertrain warranty on every vehicle. Two, it gives family protection, offering OnStar free for a year on almost every new vehicle as well. Three, it provides value protection in the form of a $5,000 allowance when you buy a new GM car to cover the difference between trade-in value on your current car and how much you owe on it in vehicle loans. Four, GM is guaranteeing payment protection, so that if you lose your job, they will cover your car payments for $500 a month up to 9 months.
2009 Cadillac CTS
Ford Advantage Plan
Ford is offering an incredible 12 months worth of payment protection on all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles, up to $700 a month. That means if you lose your job after purchasing a new vehicle, Ford Financing will forgive without penalty a year's worth of payments. This is in addition to the current 0% financing on select vehicles. In an interesting twist, Ford has also mentioned adding a possible local charity component to the Advantage Plan.
2010 Ford Mustang
Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep are all offering what is called Employee Plus Pricing on their vehicles. As if Employee Pricing wasn't low enough, they are throwing cash, and sometimes cash plus cash on top of employee pricing. Take a Chrysler 300C with a base MSRP of $27,665; employee pricing, consumer cash, and bonus cash bring the total down to $23,399, or roughly 15% off. And this is after Forbes already declared the 2009 Chrysler 300C the most affordable vehicle in its segment.
AutoNation, America's largest chain of dealerships, has recently announced they are testing a program with 33 of their dealerships in Florida in hopes of expanding it to the rest of the United States. The plan covers car payments of up to $500 a month for six months in the event that a consumer involuntarily loses their job. Consumers must have already paid three months worth of payments to qualify. If after the six month period the consumer still cannot afford to pay for the vehicle he or she can return the car to the lender.
2009 Honda Civic
U.S. Government Warranty Commitment Program
There are many concerns one might have about purchasing a General Motors or Chrysler vehicle, primarily, if they go under, who covers a warranty? Under the new Warranty Commitment Program, technically the U.S. Taxpayer. While the two companies restructure, the Government will cover all warranties on new vehicles purchased from GM or Chrysler. If either company goes under, the Government will employ 3rd-party warranty companies to do the work so you aren't left without protection. Questions remain about how the logistics of the program will work, and current owners of General Motors and Chrysler vehicles are not covered by the plan.
2009 Chevrolet Traverse
Cash for Clunkers
A bill was introduced to Congress recently that would provide vouchers for trading in cars 8-years or older for a new, more efficient model. There are a range of voucher payments from $3,000 to $5,000, for example, those purchasing a passenger car assembled in the United States that gets 30 mpg on the highway (e.g. Honda Accord) would be eligible for a $5,000 voucher. Even SUVs that get at least 24 mpg assembled in the U.S. would be eligible for a $4,000 voucher (e.g. Ford Escape). There are various limitations, for instance, eligible vehicles must carry an MSRP of $35,000 or less and can't be manufactured outside of North America (sorry Toyota Prius). President Obama recently endorsed this bill publicly, lending weight to the possibility it will pass.
2009 Honda Accord
Don't just assume only domestic manufactures are having a difficult time moving metal. There are more incentives on the market than there are in a Wall St. employment contract. In March, Volkswagen was offering cash incentives across the board, Audi was providing very attractive APR financing, and Infiniti, Lexus, and BMW were all offering cash incentives to current owners looking to upgrade. You can expect in April that many of those programs will start up again. Finally, chances are with inventory piling up, you'll have some bargaining power to discover those "special only for you" incentives your local dealer salesperson can conjure up.
2009 Volkswagen CC
Sales Tax Deduction
Anyone who lives in a state with high sales tax knows what a pain that can be when purchasing a car. To ease that pain, for the 2009 fiscal year the IRS is offering the option to deduct state and local sales taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of a qualified new car or truck. To qualify you must buy a vehicle by December 31st, 2009, and possess an adjusted gross income of less than $125,000, or for joint filers, an adjusted gross incomes of less than $250,000. Now if only the EPA would remove the Gas Guzzler tax from the Dodge Challenger SRT8...
2009 Dodge Challenger
Above all, 2009 is a great time to be a car buyer because there are so many high-value, affordable vehicle that are coming to market this year. From the 306-horsepower 2010 Chevrolet Camaro that starts at only $22,995 to the 43 mpg 2010 Honda Insight, which promises to be the most affordable hybrid on the market at $19,800, there are some great options out there for you. Even Nissan has lowered the price on its Versa Sedan to $9,990, effectively making it the most affordable car on the market. We can't forget the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which at $22,000 offers fun you used to have to pay way more to get.
2010 Honda Insight
What are you waiting for?
It probably isn't going to get much better than this. Say you want to buy a Chevrolet Malibu, the 2008 North American Car of the Year. You could potentially deduct the sales tax on the purchase price, get a $5,000 credit from the government for your trade in, receive a guarantee from GM that they will make payments on the car if you lose your job, get another guarantee from the government that they will warrantee the vehicle if GM fails, and take off the MSRP whatever incentives are currently being offered (right now $2,750 cash). So we have one question; what more can you possibly be waiting for?
2009 Chevrolet Malibu
Ready to buy?
Check out our buying guides for 2009 model automobiles that carry more than four adults economically while earning great safety ratings--vehicles that also deliver the flair that makes you forget responsibility, if only for a moment.