Don't get us wrong, cash can be a tremendous incentive in the new car buying process. There are plenty of offers of cash rebates, low or no interest financing and lease deals from both manufacturers and dealers alike as inducements to either get you into the showroom or behind the wheel. Oftentimes, these deals are offered on cars that may be slow selling or on the part of the dealer, a sweetener to help boost numbers before the end of the monthly sales reporting period.
But these advertised offers are just the tip of the iceberg, according to savvy shoppers, who have found there are plenty more incentives that don't necessarily fall into the category of rebates, lease deals or low or no percentage loans. According to buyers surveyed by KBB, there are plenty of other spiffs to be had in vehicle equipment, financing, aftermarket warranties and insurance and service. These are usually available above and beyond factory offers. As the old saying goes, it doesn't hurt to ask. Here's a few that we've found:
Free option or feature. While some dealers may offer to throw in paint or interior upholstery protection (and even undercoating) at no cost, look for other, more substantial upgrades to the vehicle such as a better sound system, an extension of the free introductory period on the vehicle's satellite radio or other accessories that may be installed at the dealership, like a bike rack or luggage carrier.
Always look to improve the terms. Among these would be eliminating the down payment or having the dealer cover the first installment. If you are a repeat customer, see if there are any loyalty rebates. If you are leasing, bargain for additional yearly mileage or eliminate any lease disposition fees from the contract.
See if there is additional coverage available above the factory warranty. Look for the dealer to provide either an extended powertrain or general warranty or even gap insurance that will cover the cost of replacing your car if it's totaled in an accident.
Bargain for maintenance extras. These can include free regularly scheduled maintenance, oil changes, car washers, loaner vehicle and shuttle service from the dealership.