This Week in Car Buying: Best deals of the month; Inventories tighten; Polestar's U.S. plans; Subaru prices limited editions
As we enter the final stretch of 2017, our deals of the month combs past and present Kelley Blue Book Best Buy winners to find exceptional values amid all the holiday hoopla. The deals range from low lease offers to some rather substantial cash offers.
“Our Best Buy Awards are the most coveted of our annual accolades, and every vehicle on this list of standout deals is a current or former Best Buy winner,” said Jason Allan, managing editor of KBB.com. “To top it off, half of the vehicles are also on our list of 10 Most Awarded Cars of 2017.”
The top deal of the month is a $169 per month lease deal on the 2017 Honda Civic. This 3-year contract calls for $1,999 at signing on a vehicle that carries a $20,430 MSRP and has a Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price calculation of $18,480. For $10 per month more, you can lease a 2017 Kia Optima midsize sedan for two years at $179 per month, also with $1,999 due at signing. Or you may opt for a 2017 Kia Sportage for $199 per month on a 3-year deal with $2,399 due up front. Rounding out the lease deals is the 2017 Toyota Highlander, which is available for $329 per month for three years with $1,999 cash at signing.
While the all-new 2018 Honda Accord took top honors as the best overall buy in the KBB awards, the Japanese automaker is looking to clear out stocks of 2017 models by offering 0.9-percent financing as well as offering the same low interest rate on 2017 Pilots. Chevrolet has 3.9-percent financing available on its full-size Tahoe SUV and the 2017 Chevrolet Impala (our perennial full-size sedan winner). The Impala also comes with $2,000 cash back in addition to the finance deal.
Ford is offering 0-percent financing on its F-150 full-size pickup. While the 2018 Expedition knocked the Tahoe out of the top spot in the full-size SUV category, Ford isn’t offering any incentives yet on that all-new truck, but is giving $7,000 cash back on closeout 2017 models.
The auto industry tightened up inventories in November, due in large part to strong sales resulting from holiday sales events. These tighter supplies suggest that a lot of the incentives currently being offered in the holiday/year end cycle may be cut back in the first quarter of 2018. Which means that if you are in the market, you may want to act soon or be prepared to wait until the next round of incentives, which may not hit until the beginning of the spring selling season.
According to Automotive News, the glut in vehicle supplies have been virtually eliminated with inventories now standing at below average levels for the first time in 11 months. Record November sales helped bring the days’ supply down to 71, which is below the Dec. 1 average of 72 days. The days’ supply number represents the number of days it would take to sell all the vehicles in stock at the current sales rate.
Typically, the industry views 60 days’ supply as ideal, but that number tends to fluctuate depending on season. The trade paper reported that last September, the industry reported a 71-day supply, which was 15 days higher than the average for that time of year, which was a 56-day supply. Overall, there are 3.97 million vehicles in inventory.
BMW has the fewest days’ supply of vehicles on hand at 41, followed by Subaru and Lexus, both reporting a 45 days’ supply. On the other end of the spectrum, Volkswagen has 154 days’ supply of vehicles, followed by Fiat at 138 days and Ram with 110.
Among individual models, Automotive News reports that there are 20 models above a 100-day supply including Buick LaCrosse and Cascada, Cadillac ATS and CTS, Acura TLX, Honda fit, Mitsubishi Mirage and Fiat Spider.
Polestar’s U.S. plans
Volvo’s new Polestar unit, which has moved beyond just being a performance variant of the Swedish car maker’s product portfolio to being a full-blown division with performance and electric vehicles, has announced plans on how it will market its wares in the U.S. and other countries. The first dedicated vehicle from the division is the Polestar 1, a performance electric plug-in hybrid coupe offering 600 combined horsepower and the ability to go over 100 miles on pure electric charge alone, the longest range for a plug-in.
Slated to open in 2019, the so-called Polestar Space is a place where customers can interact with the brand. These showrooms will be opened in the U.S., China, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. Polestar will be offering the Polestar 1 and all future models using a subscription model with no deposits and an all-inclusive monthly payment that includes maintenance and insurance. The program is modeled after the Care by Volvo plan recently unveiled for the 2019 XC40 T5 which is priced at $600 or $700 depending on trim level for a 2-year subscription.
Production of the Polestar 1 is expected to begin in mid-2019 with order books opening early next year. The division also produces the S60 and V60 Polestar that offer 367 horsepower.
Subaru prices special editions
Two special edition performance models from Subaru based on the WRX STI and BRZ have been priced by the Japanese brand. The 2018 WRX STI Type RA and 2018 BRZ tS will each be produced in a limited run of 500 each and offer performance and handling upgrades primarily through lighter weight, suspension tuning and engine tweaks.
The WRX STI Type RA is priced at $48,995 plus $860 deliver and boasts an increase in output to 310 horsepower, a lighter curb weight thanks to a carbon fiber roof, lighter alloy wheels and elimination of the spare tire. Suspension upgrades include a Bilstein STI sport-tuned setup. The BRZ tS has an MSRP of $33,495 plus delivery and benefits from lighter wheels, Sachs shocks and coil springs and a high-performance braking system.
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