It’s reached that point. In fact, for some of our dear automakers, namely Ford (Funding Outrageous Rebates and Discounts), and GM (Great Markdowns), heavy discounting is now part of business as usual, life as they know it and just The Way Things Are. And if that means more money lands in the consumer pocket, hooray! Conventional wisdom dictates that rebates give car buyers more power. And though overwrought and stuffed auto analysts may grind their teeth and moan over the State of the Automotive Union, the bottom line is that rebates are good because they help sell more cars – at lower prices.
But look a little closer: there’s an illusion going on here, a sleight of hand barely detectable to the average car shopper. All these great savings on Fords, Chevys and Chryslers may well come out in the wash when you factor in previous rebates before the Employee Discount Offers began, true pricing of the vehicle, and the value of the car after you drive it home. So instead of rushing out and lining up for a Pontiac G6 – one of the many cars available at an employee discount – take a look at the car, the actual price of the car, and whether or not you can get a better, though less glamorous deal. You may find better value in purchasing a Honda Accord. Or you might find that the discount really is significant and the G6 is a decent, stylish car. The point is to avoid the car shopper’s egg-on-the-face scenario, otherwise known as “I bought a car I didn’t really want for more than I thought I would pay for it. But hey – look at my new car!” Yeah. Look at it, sitting there, glinting in the sunlight, mocking you for swallowing some marketer’s tripe about rebates. Just look at that car.
You can avoid being a fool by doing some homework before you step onto a new car lot. Listed on these pages are ten vehicles with notable good deals that expire no earlier than the end of July, and are not included as part of the Employee Discount program from Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler. As a result, the list is comprised of import brands – an alternative, if you will, to the Red, White, and Blue marketing madness currently on display from the Detroit Demigods.
These vehicles offer either cash back or great interest rates, and are generally considered to be quality cars by the automotive press. The list also takes crash test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) into account. The presumption is that a good deal means more than just cash back; it means a good price on a quality car that’s safe – one that will provide you with years of dependable service.