It’s the most wonderful time of the year and special year-end deals make it better

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The economy continues to improve and new car and truck sales are the strongest they’ve been in years.  Colorado’s automobile dealers are celebrating with the best deals of 2013.

Vehicle sales have exceeded expectations in 2013, but with two weeks yet to go, the rush is on to bump them up even more. Why? Dealers want to clear out their inventory of 2013 models to make way for 2014s. They have end-of-year manufacturers’ sales targets to meet. It’s a competitive industry and both manufacturers and dealers compete for bragging rights and often bonuses.

Colorado’s been short on snow but there’s been a blizzard of TV advertising to get consumers in the buying mood. It features Michael Bolton singing for “Happy Honda Days,” Santa Claus touting Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota’s friendly receptionist welcoming you to “Toyotathon.” Check out “Hyundai Holidays and ”Chrysler brands’ “Big Finish 2013.” Lincoln offers the “Wish List Sales Event;” Infiniti its “Limited Engagement Winter Event;” Buick and GMC their “Holiday Events;” and Cadillac’s “Season’s Best Event. “Unwrap a Jag Sales Event;” and Ford’s “Dream Big Sales Event.”

Chevrolet promises it’s “Giving More.” Subaru says it’s time to “Share the Love;” Lexus pledges a “Season to Remember;” Acura proclaims the “Season of Reason;” Nissan the “Season to Choose Innovation and Savings;” and Audi argues it’s the “Season of Audi.” BMW wishes you a “Happier New Year.”

The truth is, if you’re in the market for a new car, you may be happier with this old year, because the deals in coming months may not compare. Dealers’ 2013 year-end offers are made sweeter by low interest rates, when financed through captive factory lenders, and the fact that used cars continue in high demand, ratcheting up trade-in values.

Some holiday vehicle sales require closing by midnight December 31, but many extend to January 2, and a few to Monday, January 6, folding in weekend sales. Consumers who resist the temptation to make a new car the centerpiece of Christmas gifting likely will find even more negotiating room between Christmas and New Year’s. For those who just can’t wait, the savings offered this week before Christmas are still substantial.

Dealers generally offer the best deals on less popular and 2013 models: lowest interest rates, highest cash incentives and most attractive leases, often as little as 0.0 percent annual percentage rates and zero down/zero security deposit/zero due at signing – sometimes with zero first month payments, too, such as offered by both Volkswagen and Volvo. On more-popular models and 2014s interest rates rise to 1.9 percent, 2.9 percent – all the way up to 5.9 percent for a Ram Chassis Cab.

Cash incentives, bonuses or allowances are available in amounts up to $6,000 for some Cadillac models. Lower amounts are available on Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Buick and BMW, among others. Pickup trucks, including those from Ford, GM and Ram, also offer incentives – like up to $8,500 off on some 2013 Ford F-150s.

Some excellent deals are available on electric cars, even above generous federal and state tax credits. For example, Chevrolet’s Volt carries a $7,000 cash allowance. Even some popular Toyota Prius models have cash-back or zero interest rate deals.

Subaru offers holiday savings but for another year it also pledges to donate $250 to a choice of charities: the ASPCA, Make-a-Wish, Meals on Wheels, National Park Foundation or Teach for America.

Small business owner alert! Substantial federal tax deductions go away after December 31 on purchases of some new and used vehicles if they’re used more than 50 percent for business. Vehicles weighing more than 6,000 lbs. (SUVs, trucks, vans) get the biggest deductions, although smaller tax advantages are available for lighter vehicles, including some passenger cars.

With the average age of American automobiles around 11 years, maybe this is the year to give yourself, your family or your business the gift of a shiny new car or truck.

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About timwjackson

Working every day for a better Colorado.
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