As the nation slowly reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, automakers continue to pour on the discounts. Since mid-March, new-car incentives have averaged more than 11% off MSRP — a level previously unthinkable — and have approached 12% since mid-May, per J.D. Power. Most notable among the deals is a rise in 0% financing for 72 or 84 months, rolled out in the early days of the pandemic from the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, GM and Hyundai. Eighty-four month financing became so popular, in fact, that it accounted for more than 1 in 5 new-vehicle sales during a short period in late March and early April, according to J.D. Power. That’s more than double its pre-pandemic popularity.
Of course, not everyone who took on such lengthy financing terms did so at 0%. Even amid COVID-19-related discount programs, such rates still typically require excellent credit. That’s why we — in our monthly roundup of the best new-car deals out there — focus on the cash discounts generally available to all shoppers; to that end, you can find the most important information up front, including:
The factory discount in dollars
The vehicle’s post-discount pricing, including destination, from the cheapest eligible model up to the top trim with factory options but not dealer accessories
Our calculation of the approximate percentage savings across that range
Beyond these points, you can find further context, including expiration dates and discount financing. We urge shoppers to use the price after factory discounts as the starting point for negotiations — not a reason to skip them altogether.
Factory discount: $5,000 for 2020 model on all trims
Price after discounts: $36,195 to $58,565
Approximate factory savings: 8-12%
A corporate sibling to the Chevrolet Traverse (Buick and Chevrolet are brands under GM), the Enclave averaged 94 days to sell through late May, eclipsing the 85-day average for new model-year 2020 vehicles. The SUV starts at $41,195 and tops out at $63,565 with factory options, so Buick’s cash rebates should amount to a double-digit percentage discount for many shoppers. In lieu of the cash, creditworthy shoppers can get 0% financing for 72 months. Both deals expire June 30.
Factory discount: $4,500 for 2020 model, excluding base trim
Price after discounts: $22,995 to $44,130, excluding base trim
Approximate factory savings: 9-16%, excluding base trim
The Equinox averaged 97 days to sell in May. Chevrolet’s compact SUV starts at $24,995 and tops out at $48,630 with factory options, but the base trim level (the Equinox L) isn’t eligible for the brand’s $4,500 factory discount in June; that leaves the lowest eligible trim at the $27,495 Equinox LS. In lieu of cash, creditworthy shoppers can get 0% financing for 72 months, also on all but the base trim. Both deals expire June 30.
Factory discount: $4,000 for 2020 model, excluding V-6 trims
Price after discounts: $24,110 to $31,700, excluding V-6 trims
Approximate factory savings: 11-14%, excluding V-6 trims
The Sorento, which averaged 90 days to sell through most of May, comes in five trim levels. In ascending order, they’re the L and LX (both of which have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine), and the S, EX and SX (all of which upgrade to a 3.3-liter V-6). Kia is offering $4,000 off just the L and LX, but those trims account for 83% of new inventory for the 2020 Sorento as of this writing, so you should have no trouble finding eligible examples. In lieu of cash discounts, creditworthy shoppers can get 0% financing for 72 months on all variants, not just the four-cylinder. Both deals expire July 6.
Editor’s Choice: Ram 1500 Big Horn, Lone Star
Factory discount: $4,000 to $6,800
Price after discounts: $32,885 to $61,905
Approximate factory savings: 6-14%
Although they’re just two out of seven trim levels for the Ram 1500, the Big Horn and its equivalent in Texas markets, the Lone Star, account for nearly two-thirds of new inventory for the 2020 Ram 1500, which averaged 108 days to sell in May. Both trims have $4,000 to $5,500 in cash discounts for most configurations, depending on region, with another $500 for those who finance at standard rates through Ram parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The financing bonus isn’t available for isolated Big Horn and Lone Star configurations with even higher advertised discounts, which totaled anywhere from $5,700 to $6,800 in markets we surveyed. Such configurations are typically four-wheel-drive crew cabs, sometimes with select packages. In lieu of such discounts, creditworthy shoppers can get 0% financing for 36 months with $2,500 to $4,000 off, depending on region and configuration, for the Big Horn or Lone Star. All such deals expire June 30.
How We Look for Deals
To look for June deals, we looked at days-to-sell data among the 100 bestselling models in May — specifically May 1-26, the window we gathered the data — which measures how long it takes on average for the selling dealer to move 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.
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.
Writer: Kelsey Mays
Published: 8 June, 2020
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Equinox