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Setting The Record Straight On Car Deal Incentives

There are some commonly held perceptions among car buyers that are getting tossed out the window right now. The biggest, in my opinion, involve the incentives dealers and automakers are rolling out to sell cars, trucks, and SUVs. So, with the March auto sales coming out, it seems appropriate to set the record straight.

#1 The Asian automakers don't really offer big incentives. False!

When the latest numbers for March come out, you'll likely see Toyota ,Nissan , and Honda have been goosing the pot to keep the metal moving. For years, the Asian Big 3 resisted adding rebates, discounts, etc. But over the last 10 years that has slowly but steadily changed. Sure, some of the most popular models, like the Honda Fit may not have cash on the hood, but plenty of other models are a different story.


Source: eastcoasttoyota.com

#2. Detroit is holding the line, and not offering more deals. False!

Just because you don't see big "zero down" ads, doesn't mean there is less money being thrown around by the Big 3. As sales have slowed, the discounts have picked up. You may not have noticed, but they are out there.

In recent years, Detroit has been praised, rightfully so, for trying to kick the rebate habit that was out of control in 2000, '01 and '02. Back then, buyers knew they could get several grand knocked off the sticker, and Detroit trumpeted those deals everywhere. Then the Big 3 said, "we ain't doing that anymore."

Well, just because you don't see "0 percent for three years" ads doesn't mean you still won't find offers for several thousand off the sticker. Like the Asian auomakers, the Big 3 need to sell the slower moving models, and money is still the best method of getting people to overlook the poor mileage or older "look" of certain models.

Bottom line: if you want a deal right now, you can find it.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

Autos