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Special Incentives & Rebates

Incentives and rebates are programs offered by the manufacturers to stimulate sales. The three most common programs are provided directly to consumers in the forms of cash rebates, low interest financing, and leasing specials. Some manufacturers also provide first time buyer, military, and other programs to target specific customer segments.

Manufacturers also provide marketing support directly to dealers, which may or may not be passed on to consumers. These marketing support programs take many forms, but the most common type of program is a dealer cash incentive.

Manufacturer to Customer Programs

Cash rebates are provided by the manufacturer directly to the customer at the point of sale to defray the price of the vehicle. Consumers normally elect to credit the cash rebates as a down payment against the new vehicle purchase price. However, there are many instances in today's market whereby customers are allowed to choose either a Cash Rebate or a Low Interest Financing offer. In still other cases, customers may benefit from both the Cash Rebate and the Low APR Financing offers in combination. This varies by manufacturer. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is based on the top customer credit tier and not all consumers will be eligible for this best rate.

Special lease programs are sometimes offered by the manufacturers, through their captive financing companies, to increase sales. Most of the listed programs are supported by the manufacturers by what's known as a subsidized lease. Subsidized leases such as these are generally based on a residual value much higher than the actual worth of the car at the end of the lease and/or an interest rate, expressed as a money factor that is subsidized to below market rates.

Each Special Lease program specifies the monthly payment, Term, Down Payment requirement, Security Deposit, and annual Mileage Allowance. Estimated monthly payment is based on a typical amount financed and typical down payment. The sales price of the vehicle, as well as the residual value, lease term, security deposit, acquisition fee, and down payment may be negotiated, but that will in turn affect the monthly payment amount. In other words, you can probably negotiate to a $0 down payment, but your monthly payment will increase to compensate.

Manufacturer to Dealer Programs

While cash rebates, low interest financing, and leasing specials are passed directly to the buyer, manufacturer to dealer marketing support is made available exclusively to the franchised dealer for use in marketing their vehicles. Most commonly represented as cash incentives from the manufacturer, dealers may or may not choose to pass some part of this marketing support money on to their customers. Frequently, the salesperson will not even be aware of dealer marketing support programs, so buyers should speak to the sales manager about participating in these dealer incentive programs.

Purchase Terms

Acquisition Fee
For a vehicle lease, a fee charged by the leasing company that covers a variety of administrative costs, such as the costs of obtaining a credit report, verifying insurance coverage, checking the accuracy and completeness of the lease documentation, and entering the lease in data processing and accounting systems. This charge may also be called a bank fee, an administrative fee or an assignment fee.

Cash Rebates are provided by the manufacturer directly to the customer at the point of sale to defray the price of the vehicle. Consumers normally elect to credit the cash rebates as a down payment against the new vehicle purchase price.

Dealer Cash Incentives are normally paid to the dealers by the manufacturers to support the sales of a specific vehicle. There are many variations, but the most common dealer cash incentive structure is one where the dealer receives a cash credit upon sale of a vehicle in the program. In other cases, dealers earn cash bonuses when they achieve sales volume targets. There are also programs where a dealer earns the incentive upon purchasing a vehicle from the manufacturer.

Down Payment
For a vehicle purchase, the initial payment that reduces the amount financed. For a vehicle lease, an initial payment that reduces the capitalized cost (i.e., the amount you finance) or that is applied to other amounts payable at lease signing.

Customer Cash Incentive
The amount offered by the manufacturer to encourage the lease/sale of selected vehicles. This is normally credited as a down payment against the Vehicle Sales Price.

Finance Rate (APR)
For a vehicle purchase, the annualized cost of credit, expressed as a percentage. This interest rate is usually the prevailing rate being charged by banks and other direct automotive lenders to consumers who fall into the third-highest credit tier (which encompasses the majority of the car-buying population). See Financing Section.

Incentives is a global term that describes the programs that manufacturers and dealers provide to stimulate sales. They take many forms, but they all lower your car-buying costs. The most common Incentives are Cash Rebates, Low-Interest Financing Programs, Leasing Specials, and Marketing Support Programs.

Low-Interest Financing is a lower subsidized finance rate offered by the manufacture's captive finance company. See Financing Section.

Marketing Support is a global term that describes manufacturer to dealer programs specifically designed to assist dealers in marketing their vehicles. Most commonly dealer cash, dealers may or may not choose to pass some part of this money on to their customers.

Security Deposit
For a vehicle lease, the amount you may be required to pay, usually at the commencement of the lease that may be used by the leasing company in the event of a default. Any unused amount will be refunded to you at the end of the lease term.

Note: Every effort has been made to make this information as up-to-date as possible.  Incentive programs, however, fluctuate with market conditions and manufacturer's inventory.  Please notify us of any special promotions in your area.

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