With October rolling into its second week, all eyes remain on GM. Would a unionized workforce on strike since mid-September leave the automaker’s U.S. brands — Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC — short on cars to sell? Or, nearing that, would the General at least throw a tourniquet on new-car incentives?
Not so much, it turns out. As of this writing, GM dealers on Cars.com are still advertising some 470,000 new vehicles nationwide, down only about 6 percent after more than three weeks of labor stoppage. What’s more, GM incentives appear alive and well: Plenty of models have notable discounts for October, including a few we’ll explore below.
That brings us to the month itself. October is all over the board in terms of new-car incentives, ranking in the top half of its respective year during four of the past six years, but dead last in 2018, according to Motor Intelligence. Historically speaking, your timing isn’t great — but you could do much worse.
Here are a few deals worth a pre-Halloween gander:
How much can I save? As much as 13 percent, depending what you buy. The Malibu averaged 126 days on dealer lots last month, which is well beyond the 81-day average for new 2019 models. Through Oct. 31, Chevrolet is offering $3,250 off the 2019 Malibu for all but the base Malibu L trim level. Model-year 2019 examples are still in good supply, accounting for about 4 in 10 non-hybrid Malibu sedans in Cars.com new-vehicle inventory. Those who finance at standard rates with GM Financial can get another $750.
What about discount financing? In lieu of cash deals, qualified shoppers in most, but not all, markets we surveyed can get zero percent financing for 72 months plus $500.
Any deals on the 2020 Malibu? Yes, but a lot less. Also through Halloween, Chevrolet is offering $1,250 off the 2020 Malibu, excluding the Malibu L. GM did not advertise any discount financing as of this writing, so you’ll likely have to settle for standard rates.
What about deals on the Malibu Hybrid? Deals specific to the Malibu Hybrid weren’t immediately clear, but we’re guessing few shoppers will care. As of this writing, the hybrid accounts for less than 1 percent of all new Malibu inventory on Cars.com.
How much can I save? From 9 to 23 percent, depending what you get. The 2019 Ford Fiesta averaged 87 days on dealer lots in September, which we’d expect for a car on its way out, but Cars.com dealers still have more than 4,500 new model-year 2019 examples as of this writing. Ford is offering $2,500 to $3,000 in cash discounts, depending on the area, with another $500 off select older inventory in most markets we surveyed. Expirations vary: Some deals we found end after Halloween, but the rest go through Jan. 2, 2020.
What about discount financing? Instead of cash discounts, qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for 60 months or 3.9 percent for 84 months, depending on the region and inventory. Like the cash offers, finance deals have varying expiration dates — some as early as Oct. 31, others lasting through Jan. 2.
How much can I save? Roughly 11 to 15 percent, depending what you buy. The Optima averaged 83 days on dealer lots in September, and now Kia is advertising $3,000 off the 2019 model’s base trim (LX) or $4,000 off other trims (S, EX and SX). Deals expire Oct. 31.
Are there any 2019s left? Plenty. As of this writing, the 2019 model year still accounts for roughly 6 in 10 new non-hybrid Optima sedans in Cars.com inventory. Can’t find one for some reason? Deals are still substantial on the 2020 Optima: Through Oct. 31, Kia is offering $2,000 off the LX and $2,500 off higher trims.
What about discount financing? Qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing on a 2019 or 2020 Optima for up to 75 months on the 2019 model or 60 months on the 2020. Deals run through Oct. 31.
Anything on the Optima Hybrid or Optima Plug-In Hybrid? Kia advertised $2,000 off both variants for the 2020 model year, also through Oct. 31. We didn’t observe any discounts on the 2019 Optima Hybrid or Plug-In Hybrid, but expect tough hunting for the duo regardless of model year. As of this writing, both variants account for just 4.1 percent of all new Optima inventory on Cars.com.
Editor’s Choice: Kia Sorento
How much can I save? In many cases, a double-digit percentage. The Sorento also averaged 83 days on dealer lots in September. Now through Oct. 31, Kia is offering $3,000 to $5,000 off the 2019 model, which you should have no trouble finding since the 2020 Sorento has yet to arrive. Incentives escalate depending on trim level: Lower trims get $3,000 in cash discounts, with mid-level examples getting $4,000. The top-of-the-line SX Limited gets $5,000, which is more than 10 percent off a near-$50,000 SUV.
What about discount financing? Qualified shoppers can get zero percent financing for up to 75 months, also through Oct. 31.
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We focus on cars new to the list or ones we haven’t highlighted in the past few months. But a few cars from recent months still carry deep discounts in October:
How We Look for Deals
To look for October deals, we looked at days-to-turn data from September — specifically Sept. 1-23, the window we gathered the data — which measures how long it takes on average for dealers to sell a given car. That illustrates slow sellers, cars on which dealers could be more willing to cut a deal. Then we looked at factory cash discounts and low-interest-rate financing offers that are especially high for the price of the car. After all, $3,000 is a lot more on a Ford Escape than a Ford Expedition.
In previous installments of our monthly Best Deals series, we also factored in how well each car sold during the prior month. But many automakers have since moved to quarterly sales reports instead of monthly updates, which reveal little about the slowest sellers in recent past. We’ve since dropped the practice.
Incentives data come from automakers’ websites, while days-to-turn data come from Cars.com inventory. 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. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and 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.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.
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