Consumer Reports Says New Auto Incentives Are Big Bargains - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/05-Tyler

Consumer Reports Says New Auto Incentives Are Big Bargains

If a new car is what you wanted for Christmas, now is a good time to get it. Consumer Reports says some automakers have some of the best deals this year, ones that are better than the big incentive discounts last summer.

Car dealers say the week between Christmas and New Year is historically the number one week in car sales. "We strike white the iron's hot. Everybody puts their best foot forward during that week to drive up sales," said Pegues-Hurst sales manager Jim Payne. Manufacturers put out more rebates and other incentives in order to clear out the old models from 2005 to 2006.

Dealers say customers could save hundreds to thousands of dollars on most new vehicles. "I found a pretty, green one over there with a sunroof and the price looks mighty good," said Donnie Merrit, who was out shopping for a car.

Ford is currently running the "Keep It Simple Plan." The program focuses on clearly-marked, discounted prices for its 2005, 2006 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brand vehicles. "Usually it's right about 60 to 75 dollars above invoice is what the price ends up being. Plus, you get the rebates on top of that so it's a really good deal for the consumer," said Tyler Ford sales manager Tim Haugh. Jim Moffitt said he saved about $3,000 on the new Ford F-250 truck he bought today.

General Motors is running the "Red Tag Event." Under the new incentive plan, Buick, Pontiac, GMC and Chevrolet dealerships post price tags on their vehicles set by the automaker. "GM has not only stepped up and given rebates up to $6,000, they've given 0 percent for 72 months," said Peter's Chevrolet sales manager Joe Elliott.

Chrysler also launched its year-end sales strategy, which does not reduce the price of its vehicles. It's called the "Miles of Freedom Plan." Instead, buyers get two years' worth of free gasoline, two years' worth of free scheduled maintenance and a five-year/60-thousand mile mechanical warranty.

Those who've been doing their homework have a little advice for those of you who may be looking to a buy a vehicle. "Don't settle for the first price. That's about all I can say. They'll work with you," said Moffitt.

The "Miles of Freedom Plan," "Keep It Simple Plan" and "Red Tag Event" run through January 3rd.

Oralia Ortega reporting, ortega@kltv.com

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