Local News

Car dealers offering deep discounts

Posted December 29, 2009 10:47 p.m. EST
Updated December 30, 2009 5:57 a.m. EST

— Many car dealers are offering deep discounts as they try to put more people into the driver’s seat before the end of 2009.

It has been an especially tough year for the auto industry, including bankruptcy filings of Detroit auto makers General Motors and Chrysler.

But despite dismal sales, dealerships are looking to end the year on a high note by doing all they can to move inventory off the lot.

“There are always rebates, but year-end rebates are always better than what they are throughout the other 11 months,” Capital Ford General Sales Manager David Butler said.

Butler said the rebates have led to crowded showrooms at the Raleigh dealership, at 4900 Capital Blvd. It is the kind of activity that all but disappeared when the economic recession hit.

Sales increased during the federal government’s car buyback program known as "Cash for Clunkers." But with the incentive program over, dealerships are back to slashing prices and negotiating year-end deals, rebates and low interest rates.

“Ford’s got big incentives. We've got zero percent interest rates on pretty much the whole line, F-150s, Escapes, pretty much across the board. We’ve got trucks we're discounting up to $14,000,” Butler said.

GM is offering big discounts on models as well, including Saturn and Pontiac where you can get as much as $6,500 off the now defunct line of automobiles.

Car shopper China Banks spent Tuesday afternoon checking out the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara.

“I hope to get a deal just like everybody else,” Banks said. “I like that it has a navigation system. It has everything I want for a vehicle, a CD player, it has an MP3 player."

Gary Galavotti went looking Tuesday for a new Ford F-150. He leased his last one exactly two years ago.

“My lease ends at a perfect time right now, when we start looking again. So it kind of gives me a reminder that one of the best times to go out there and buy a vehicle,” Galavotti said.

Many dealerships are also extending their hours through the end of the week to cash in on the year-end buying rush.