Day-after-Christmas sales aren’t just for the local department store. The week leading up to New Year’s Eve has historically seen a big push to sell cars, too — a key factor driving December’s elevated overall incentives. The month’s final week is peak season for deals as automakers push to meet year-end sales goals and clear through final inventory from the outgoing model year.
Incentives this month are on track to hit a record amount — nearly $4,700 per car and about 11 percent of MSRP on average, says Tyson Jominy, who heads up J.D. Power’s data consultancy. And the week after Christmas is on pace to exceed even that.
“In four out of the past five years, the final sales week of December carried the highest [incentive] spend level for the year,” Jominy told Cars.com. “We are anticipating a similar pattern this year. Spending is currently pacing towards $4,660 [per] unit during the period after Christmas.”
It’s likely much of those incentives will come on cars from the outgoing 2019 model year. As of mid-December, 2019s still accounted for about 35 percent of new vehicles in Cars.com’s inventory. That’s slightly above the percentage of outgoing 2018s at this point in 2018. Which brands have a glut? Try Volkswagen (76.5% of all Cars.com inventory remains 2019s as of mid-month), Ram (52.6%), Ford (51.9%), Nissan (44.4%) and Honda (44.1%). Dealers selling all five brands should have plenty of 2019 models to offload, possibly at big discounts.
Which cars have particularly high deals? Start with the four models we spotlighted in our rundown of December discounts. Deals of this quartet — three SUVs and a sedan — extend through Jan. 2, 2020:
Want more? Consider a couple of pickup trucks, a sedan and an SUV below. We’ll highlight the cash discounts, but creditworthy shoppers might be able to score discount financing in lieu of cash. Oh, and you don’t have to wait until the eggnog has turned: The deals below are available now.
Ford is offering $6,750 off the 2019 F-150 pickup truck’s mid-grade XLT, which amounts to roughly 12-19% off list price depending on what you get. The 2019 model year still accounts for nearly two-thirds of new F-150 inventory as of this writing, and the popular XLT grade makes up 44% of that group. On select examples that have been on dealer lots for extended time, Ford offers considerably more: $7,500 to $12,210 based on average dealer discounts, depending on market; in some cases, that approaches 20% off. Deals expire Jan. 2.
Ford is offering $5,550 to $6,100 off, depending on region, from mid-level (XLT) trims for the 2019 Ranger pickup truck. That’s roughly 12-21% off list price, depending what you buy. You should have no trouble finding eligible examples, as the 2019 model year still accounts for nearly 9 in 10 new Rangers on Cars.com, and the XLT makes up just over half of that group. On select examples in some markets, Ford offers more: $6,328 to $7,163 based on average dealer discounts, depending on market. Deals expire Jan. 2.
The redesigned 2020 Sonata is making its way to dealerships, but the outgoing 2019 sedan still accounts for roughly half of Sonata inventory on Cars.com as of this writing. And it has major discounts: $3,500 on the top trim (Limited) and $3,250 on all others, with more cash for those who finance at standard rates through Hyundai. But even if you don’t, that’s 11-14% off list price, depending what you get. Deals expire Jan. 6.
Nissan is offering big discounts on the Murano SUV’s top two trim levels: $5,250 to $5,500 off the 2019 model, depending on region, or $4,500 off the 2020. That’s some 10-14% off list price, depending what you get. The 2020 model year accounts for about two-thirds of new Murano inventory on Cars.com, but the SL and Platinum — which together account for about three-fifths of new 2019-20 inventory — should be easy to find. Deals expire Jan. 2.
More From Cars.com:
- How to Win the Car Financing Game
- Understanding Factory-to-Dealer Incentives
- Glossary of Car Leasing Terms
- We Bought a Genesis G70: Here’s What We Paid
- Find You Next Car
Remember, our numbers are current as of publication for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.
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