How Can I Find Out The Factory-To-Dealer Incentives?

Illustration for article titled How Can I Find Out The Factory-To-Dealer Incentives?
Photo: Rick Bowmer (AP)

As Jalopnik’s resident car-buying expert and a professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve picked a few of your questions and will try to help out. This week we are discussing “dealer cash” incentives and restrictions on out-of-state purchases due to COVID-19.

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First up, what is the best resource to know what kind of “dealer cash” incentives are being offered?

“I’m just curious if you know of any website that has knowledge of and lists factory-to-dealer incentives. Last year I happened to notice one on CarsDirect which helped me land a killer deal on a 29109 2019 holdover ($6500).”

CarsDirect and Edmunds still publish monthly incentive programs, but currently, automakers are dialing back most of their upfront and dealer-cash rebates due to inventory shortages. Incentives are typically used to clear out inventory, if there isn’t enough inventory to sell, there is no need to put extra cash on the hood to do so. Furthermore, even if a dealer does have access to these rebates, they are under no obligation to pass those savings on to you. When car sales are down, stores are often forced to be as competitive as possible and will use whatever discounts they have to make the sale.

That being said there are some brands that are applying extra rebates to cars that aren’t as in-demand. You can still get a pretty awesome deal on Chevy Bolts due to these factory-to-dealer rebates.

Knowing what the dealers have at their disposal for discounts is valuable, but it doesn’t necessarily give you leverage for the best deal. That leverage comes from shopping around.

Next up, are automakers restricting out-of-state sales due to COVID supply issues?

“I’ve recently started shopping for a manual 2021 Veloster N in white. There are very few manual N’s in the country right now, but I did find one in New Hampshire that even states it is on special (whatever that means).

While I live in Georgia, I work for an airline so flying in (for free), buying, and then enjoying a cross-country trip sounds fun! Unfortunately, this is the response I received when I inquired about the vehicle:

“Thank you for filling me in on all the details and thank you for considering us as a dealer in NH! Although we would love to earn your business, due to covid and vehicle restrictions in our area, we are not able to sell out of our region at this time.

We do appreciate your time and hope that you find the Veloster that you’re looking for!”

Is this a real thing with Hyundai or dealership in general? Are they limited to selling cars within a certain region due to Covid-19? I’ve attempted to Google and can’t find anything saying cars can’t be sold to someone because of where they live due to Covid-19.

How can one find a car that is in short supply if they can’t shop nationwide?”

I can’t imagine that Hyundai corporate is telling this dealer they aren’t allowed to sell out of state. It’s likely the case that they don’t have enough supply and selling to a local in their region is just easier for them to handle. There is likely a dealer elsewhere willing to sell to you even if you are not local but, as you’ve discovered, finding the car you want at the right deal is a challenge right now.

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Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at tom.mcparland@jalopnik.com!

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)

DISCUSSION

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First Person:

I have no idea why a salesman wouldn’t tell their customer about every single rebate and discount they could get with a brand new car. Even with some models in short supply, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make the sale? When I sold cars, it was at a “no haggle” dealership so our lowest available price was always advertised prominently.

Second Person:

Kinda the same answer to the first person, why the hell would a dealership try and not sell a car? Baffles me. I’d bet if you contacted them on the phone directly and told them you would be there in person, they’d probably change their tune. They probably think you want to buy it and ship it to yourself, which would be a hassle for them.