Car manufacturers use two kinds of incentive programs to spur car sales: factory-to-dealer incentives and customer rebates.
Factory-to-dealer incentives: These are essentially cash rebates from the manufacturer to the dealer, triggered by car sales. These programs are usually unadvertised to the public.
Dealers can pass the cash along to the customer if they choose, but don't hold your breath. So in negotiating with a dealer, you want to know whether the dealer has this ""secret"" cash available.
Customer rebates: Car makers sometimes offer rebates directly to the customer.
Ask the dealer to credit your rebate immediately to reduce the sales price of your car (and thus the amount of sales tax you'll pay), suggest the folks who publish CarDeals.
- CarDeals is a biweekly newsletter that details auto rebate and incentive programs offered by the major auto manufacturers. The CarDeals newsletter offers one of the most comprehensive listings of these incentive programs.
- Edmund's Consumer Information
-- click on ""Incentives and Rebates.""
- Intellichoice, the largest publisher of consumer automobile reports in the United States, also publishes information about incentives.