The Labor Day weekend often signals a hot time for new-car discounts. It’s the beginning of the traditional season for model-year changeovers as dealers clear out existing inventory and ramp up cars for the incoming year. And many Labor Day weekends — including this year’s, which spans Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 — fall into the August sales month, which can add pressure to move the metal and meet sales targets.
Labor Day isn’t the single best time of year to buy a car; that remains late December. But it can land among the top five weeks in a given year, according to Chris Li, a senior director at J.D. Power. So ignite the grill and fire up some college football, by all means — but if you need a new set of wheels, it’s worth rolling by the local auto mall to see if there’s a fire sale, too.
Need a few suggestions? Check out our spotlight on August deals above, most of which are still in effect through Sept. 3. Beyond those, here are some deals we spotted that run through the holiday weekend. Use these incentives as a starting point for negotiations, not a reason to avoid negotiating altogether. What’s below reflects national discounts by way of advertised programs in six markets — Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York — but not unadvertised factory-to-dealer incentives or dealer-specific programs. In short, your exact discount may vary, so see your dealer for details.
How much can I save? Through Sept. 3, Dodge has $3,250 to $4,250 off the 2019 Dodge Journey, depending on region and trim level. Those who finance at standard rates with Dodge parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles can get another $1,000 to $1,500 off, depending on region and trim. On select trim levels in certain areas we surveyed, shoppers with low credit — yes, low credit, as we observed in the Los Angeles area — are eligible for another $1,250.
What about discount financing? In lieu of the maximum cash deals, credit-qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for 36 months plus $2,000 to $3,250 in cash, depending on region and trim.
But what about the current generation’s spotty crash-test ratings and concerning reliability history? Look, the biggest discounts don’t always come on the best cars. This list is about what’s cheap, but you should always account for such factors.
How much can I save? From 10 to 20 percent off MSRP, depending on your specific model. Ford is offering some $5,000 to $5,700 off the 2019 Edge, depending on region and trim level, through Sept. 3. On select inventory that’s been on dealer lots 61 days or longer, Ford is offering some $6,000 to $7,500 off, depending on region.
What about discount financing? In lieu of maximum cash discounts, credit-qualified shoppers can get 3.9 percent financing for up to 84 months. In some situations, Ford is offering zero percent financing for 60 months plus some $4,000 in bonus cash — a considerably better deal. Like the cash-back incentive, discount-financing offers run through Sept. 3.
Didn’t you just compare this to other mid-size SUVs? Hey, thanks for the segue! We stacked the Edge up against five other mid-size SUVs in our most recent multicar comparison. Considering that it ranked third — not too shabby for a generation that arrived clear back in mid-2014 — these are strong discounts for a fairly good SUV.
How much can I save? More than 15 percent, in some cases. Through Sept. 3, Kia is offering $3,000 off the 2019 Optima’s base trim (the LX). Higher trims (S, EX and SX) — a group that accounts for about half of all new 2019 Optima inventory on Cars.com as of this writing — have $4,000 off all. Offers don’t extend to the Optima Hybrid or Optima Plug-In Hybrid, however.
What about discount financing? Instead of cash rebates, credit-qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for up to 75 months. That offer also expires Sept. 3.
You guys seem unenthused about this car. For quality or driving fun, it doesn’t inspire much excitement. But the Optima has value written all over it, especially with some much-needed safety features added as standard equipment for 2019. That was before any discounts; the incentives make it a value no-brainer.
How much can I save? Nissan is offering $3,000 to $4,000 off the 2019 Murano through Sept. 3, depending on region. The top two trim levels — SL and Platinum — get $6,000 to $6,500 off, depending on region. The SL and Platinum account for just over half of new 2019 model-year Murano inventory on Cars.com as of this writing. Given the list prices for those two trims are in the $40,000s, including destination charges, Nissan’s discount represents some 13 to 16 percent off.
What about discount financing? In lieu of the maximum cash discounts, credit-qualified shoppers can combine zero percent financing for 36 months with $2,250 to $3,250 in cash discounts, depending on region. Choose an SL or Platinum, and the accompanying cash balloons to $5,250 to $5,750, depending on region.
Didn’t you just compare this one, too? Yes, versus the Edge and four other mid-size SUVs. It ranked fourth, with strong marks for gas mileage and interior quality but criticisms for interior storage, outward visibility and braking.
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