If you’re planning to buy a new car and are currently research all of your options when it comes to pricing, then you have most likely run into the term “customer incentives.” For those not in the know, those incentives can be confusing when it comes time to figure out how much you can save on the car that you want buy. Fortunately, Everyman Driver, a popular Youtube channel, put together a list of the five top customer incentives and we handily laid them out for you to refer to when doing car-buying research.
Contrary to popular belief, the dealership will not physically cut you a check to issue you a “cashback rebate.” Instead, a cashback rebate is essentially a discount off of the price of the car, which typically expires at the end of each month. They are basically used when a car is not selling well and the dealer wants to get it off of the lot quickly, so they will attach a rebate to the price and even increase it as time goes on if the car does not sell.
Financing incentives are basically just as they are described; they are incentives to get you to finance or lease the car instead of paying cash. These incentives include a low finance APR or lease rate that will lower your monthly payment and save you money in the long run. Finance incentives are typically offered along with cash back rebates, however, you usually won’t be able to take advantage of both offers are the same time.
This means that you can either save money off of the cost of the car now or save money on the total amount that you’ll be paying for it later. The usual finance incentives that are offered by dealers range from 0 to 4.9% interest for up to 72 months for well-qualified buyers, which means that you’ll need top-tier credit to get the savings.
Since leasing has been popular in the past decade, with as much as 25% of car buyers opting for the lease option (according to Everyman Driver), it’s no surprise that dealers will often have lease deals to offer in order to sell more cars. Dealers will often offer really low lease deals with either “no money due at signing” or a really low monthly rate in order to entice buyers. They do this by combining financing incentives and rebates on certain models in order to structure an attractive lease deal.
Loyalty programs are offered to buyers who already own a car of the same brand. For example, Subaru may offer a special rebate (typically $500 to $1000) for Subaru owners looking to purchase a new Subaru.
There are also rebates known as “conquest cash,” in which manufacturers will offer discounts to those who currently own cars from competing brands in order to get them to switch. For example, Audi might offer an additional $500 to $1,000 off the purchase of a new Audi to anyone looking to switch from their current Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
Lastly, contrary to what you might think, the term “bonus cash” doesn’t mean that the dealer is going to give you some cash at the end of the deal. Instead, these types of incentives refer to special rebates for recent college grads or military personnel. The rebates often range from $500 to $1,000, depending on the manufacturer, and are not offered by every automaker.