clear
Friday July 31st, 2015 9:27AM

End of year shapes up to be prime car-buying time

By The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) -- If the spirit of giving - or of treating yourself - has inspired you to buy a car this holiday season, you're in luck. Many local auto dealerships are overflowing with sedans, trucks and SUVs, so there are deals to be had.

Most dealers have abundant supplies of 2013 models, and 2014s are arriving as automakers keep factories humming. Since dealers pay interest on money borrowed to buy the cars, they're probably anxious to sell them soon.

"We have a lot of inventory right now," said Tammy Darvish, vice president of a 21-dealer group in the Washington, D.C., metro area that sells Toyota, Ford, Kia, Chrysler, Volkswagen and other makes.

The December holiday season normally is a good time to buy as dealers clear out old models and sales people feel pressure to meet year-end targets. Some sales ran early this year as automakers tried to get a piece of the Black Friday retail holiday.

Normally you can get 5 to 6 percent off the sticker price when dealing, but that could rise to 8 or 10 percent this month, said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. That means, for instance, you can get roughly $1,880 to $2,351 off a 2014 Chevy Malibu 1LT with a sticker price of $23,510.

Consumers have been in the spirit of buying cars for the past three years. U.S. sales are expected to reach 15.6 million this year, compared to just 10.4 million in 2009. And the latest retail sales figures from the government show that steady hiring and rising household wealth are encouraging more big-ticket purchases.

CARS TO LOOK AT

The bargains, dealers say, depend a lot on what car, SUV or truck you want to buy. The best deals now are in the small and midsize car segments.

Toyota, for instance, is offering $1,750 cash back on the midsize Camry in the Washington area, and competitors are following, Darvish said. That's before trying to make a deal. "I'm seeing some incentives that I have not seen as high as they are," Darvish said.

Ford dealers nationwide have about a 90-day supply of Fusion midsize cars, while other manufacturers' dealers have 75-80 days of midsize car inventory, Gutierrez said.

There also are some good deals on pickup trucks as Ford, which has the oldest big truck in the market, offers discounts and forces other automakers to follow, Gutierrez said. Ford is offering up to $8,500 off a 2013 Ford F-150 XLT Super Cab with a sticker price of around $30,000.

Don't completely ignore some of the hotter segments, such as small crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, Gutierrez said. But some SUVs, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, aren't selling at much of a discount, Darvish said.

Luxury car dealers advertise heavily for the holidays and offer good lease deals. Lexus, with ads that feature giant red bows on car rooftops, is offering to lease an ES sedan for $359 per month for 27 months with $3,200 down.

MORE DISCOUNTS COMING

As tempting as it might be to have a gift car sitting in the driveway Christmas morning, Gutierrez says the last weekend of the year is typically when prices are the lowest.

"Everybody wants to hit whatever internal targets they have," said Scott Fink, CEO of a small chain of Hyundai, Mazda and Chevrolet dealers in Florida's Tampa Bay area. "The ultimate winners are the consumers."

In addition to the high inventory, there are other factors in consumers' favor: Interest rates are low and used-car values are still close to record highs, making trade-ins worth more money.

Also, automakers still are offering sweet lease deals, with leases running at about 25 percent of sales, near a record high, Gutierrez said. Electric car lease deals are especially good, he said. Some dealers are offering the electric Nissan Leaf for $199 per month for 36 months with $2,000 down.

If you wait until next year you run some risks. Interest rates may rise and trade-in values are likely to drop a bit, Gutierrez said.

"You're not leaving a ton of money on the table" by waiting, he said. "But really there's no time like the present."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Congress heading on vacation, putting off messy decisions
WASHINGTON (AP) — As lawmakers head out of the Capitol for a five-week summer recess, they leave behind a pile of unfinished business that all but guarantees a painful fall.Not long after they return...
3:31AM ( 5 hours ago )
Rescuers hope for 'best-case scenario' for boys lost at sea
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Mustering hope for a "best-case scenario" in the face of countless unknowns, search crews braced for a seventh day and night at sea Thursday in the hunt for two teenagers...
6:22PM ( 15 hours ago )
Democrats consider distance from Jefferson, Jackson
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democratic parties in the three states that start the presidential nominating process are exploring ending their association with two former White House occupants: Thomas Jefferso...
4:41PM ( 16 hours ago )
Afghan Taliban confirm Mullah Omar's death, choose successor
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and appointed his successor Thursday, as a new round of peace talks was indefinitely postponed amid co...
4:19PM ( 17 hours ago )
3.3 million dry erase boards recalled after due to cut risk
NEW YORK (AP) — Acco Brands Corp. is recalling about 3.3 million wall-mounted dry erase boards after customers said they cut their hands, fingers and feet while removing the board from a wall.The U.S....
12:33PM ( 20 hours ago )