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Car dealers offer big discounts, incentives

December 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Did you miss out on getting a new car or truck during the Cash for Clunkers program? It was a great incentive for buyers, but so are the holidays. The last month of the year means the biggest discounts and incentives on new and used vehicles.This has definitely been a very tough year for car dealers and manufacturers. In fact, many of them have gone out of business. But what has been bad news for them is actually very good news for consumers looking to buy a vehicle, especially this time of year.

"You have manufacturers that obviously have to hit quotas from a national and global standpoint. You've got dealerships that also have incentives that they're trying to hit. So really what they're doing is they're definitely motivated, and when's the best time to buy? When you have a motivated seller," said Peter Fice, Cerritos Nissan owner.

At Cerritos Nissan, you could say they're very motivated.

"Nissan has some great programs right now. They've got rebates up to $5,000. And here at Cerritos Nissan we are also matching that $5,000, so a net savings to a customer on select models is going to be upwards of $10,000," said Fice.

But it's not just Nissan offering great end-of-the-year deals. Just about every manufacturer has some sort of incentive, from cash back to zero percent financing and more.

Doug Meyer is one customer who took advantage when he bought his 2009 Nissan Maxima.

"I think it's a great time to buy because they're offering a lot of discounts and a lot of incentives. I just think it's a great time to buy, and that's why I bought," said Meyer.

Surveys show the timing is best in December. In fact, the top days for car shopping, in order, are December 24, December 21, December 31, December 28 and December 16, according to TrueCar.com.

Chris Basso with the vehicle history company CARFAX advises shoppers not to jump on the first deal they see.

"Make sure you're shopping around and you're comparing deals. Look at dealerships in your area, look online, compare those deals, and comparison shop. Doing that you're probably going to get the greatest deal out there," said Basso.

Plus, don't forget the IRS is allowing you to deduct the sales tax on a new car this year for additional savings. So you might find this to be the time to drive off in a new car.