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$10,000 Discounts -- But No Buyers

Thursday, 21 Aug 2008 | 10:14 AM ET
AP

Don't look now, but something is coming back: deals. Not just little ones. Pretty decent deals.

General Motors, Toyota Motor and Mazda are currently running some of the more prominent marketing campaigns. But make no mistake, almost all the automakers are throwing more money and more generous financing terms behind their new models. Heck, in some cases, you can get up to 10 grand off the sticker on some SUVs.

So are the offers enough to bring out the buyers? Maybe a little.

Most of the dealers I've talked with around the country have told me their shows are as quiet as they were in July and June. Sure, there are people buying fuel-efficient cars and crossovers, but the SUVs and pick-ups remain slow sellers. Gee, I wonder why.

All of this means the real issue hurting automakers right now is the economy.

Yes, their bottom line might be better if they had less capacity tied up building SUVs and trucks, but I don't think more cars in showrooms would bring in more buyers. Let's face facts: In this economy, many people do not want to sign up for long auto loans right now. And don't even bring up leasing.

As usual, this means it's a great time to buy if you're in the market. The key, though, is getting yourself to the showroom.

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Stock check: Rival automakers

- Ford Motor

- Nissan

- Honda Motor

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Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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