This Week in Car Buying: Deals of the month; Big inventories, how long will they last? Porsche off to a slow 2018; VW taps Amazon for test drives; Used values hold
Low monthly lease deals and big rebates top our list of deals for the month of September as automakers look to clear out their 2017s in anticipation of the official start next month of the 2018 model year.
“This month’s list of good deals on good cars features some of the biggest savings we’ve seen all year,” said Jason Allan, managing editor for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com “With $199 per month lease on our Mid-Size Car Best Buy of 2017 and $7,500 cash back on a family-size SUV, September’s rundown boasts a compelling collection of deals on a wide variety of vehicles.”
There are three $199-per-month 3-year leases on offer, two of which are for compact crossover SUVs. The 2017 Nissan Rogue and 2017 Hyundai Tucson are available at that rate with respective $2,349 and $2,999 down payments. The upscale 2017 Acura ILX compact sedan can be had for 3-years at $199 per month with $2,499 due at signing. Or for $10 less per month, you can get a 2017 Honda Accord on a 3-year-deal with just $1,999 down. Keep in mind that the 2017 model will soon be replaced by an all-new 2018 Accord. Over at Toyota, lease deals are being offered on the 2017 Sienna minivan, which is $279 per month for 36 months and $1,999 cash, while the 2017 Lexus CT200 h hybrid hatchback is only $249 per month for three years with $1,499 up front.
Ford is clearing out all 2017 Expeditions ahead of the all-new 2018 replacement model for this full-size SUV and as a result the older model is eligible for $7,500 in rebates. The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is not far behind with a hefty $5,500 cash back offer. Meanwhile, Ford is offering a $4,500 rebate on the 2017 Focus and the 2017 Hyundai Sonata, which is being supplanted by a facelifted 2018 model, comes with $4,100 cash back.
Big inventories, how long will they last?
The number of vehicles in manufacturers’ inventories hit 3,862,200 Sept. 1, which translates to a 70 day supply of vehicles at the current sales rate, according to Automotive news. Last year at this time, the industry had a 61-day supply of vehicles. A big spike to 149 days was reported by the VW brand, while GM has an 87 days’ supply, a number it whittled down to from 104 days a month earlier, as its shuts down plants for retooling. VW’s spike is also the result of a number of previously unsalable diesel models coming back into the market after getting a fix specified in the diesel emissions settlement reached between the automaker and the government.
While there may be some concerns that inventories have grown—normally the industry has about between 55 and 60 days’ supply on hand as it heads into the model year changeovers, the twin Hurricane disasters of Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida may take an edge off this concern. Estimates put the number of damaged vehicles somewhere around a million units, which will have to be replaced and this will take a considerable bite out of the number of vehicles in the pipeline.
Among individual nameplates, Fiat has biggest supply relative to its sales rate with 150 days’ worth of inventory, followed by VW and Buick at 134 days. Fiat currently has a 201-day supply of 500L models and 173 days’ worth of the 500 hatchback. Buick LaCrosse continues to be a slow seller and is listed as having a 286-day supply. Mainstream brands with the tightest inventories include Subaru with 37, BMW with 44 and Mini with 46.
Porsche off to a slow 2018
One would not usually associate a lack of speed with German sports car and SUV maker Porsche. However, the company is off to an unusually slow start this year due in part to certification delays for its 2018 models, Automotive News reports. The certification issue has been settled for all models and deliveries are beginning to be made to customers, but the problem put a significant dent in Porsche sales this summer, especially among its hottest models.
Overall, Porsche sales dropped 9.1 percent in August and Macan sales in particular dropped 29 percent as a result of the tie-up. This compact performance crossover SUV accounts for a third of the brand’s sales in the U.S.
A statement released by Porsche in commenting on their August sales said that “These results reflect delays in our delivery of 2018 model year vehicles, many of which are still in the final regulatory approval process. Porsche is working diligently to obtain all required approvals as soon as possible.”
These delays included paperwork from both the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board. Sports cars like the 911, Boxster and Cayman were most affected in July with double digit declines in sales as a result of not being able to ship 2018 models, while in August, the snag hit Macan and Cayenne. Porsche told customers to expect delivery delays of four to 12 weeks.
VW Taps Amazon for test drives
Volkswagen has teamed with Amazon to offer on-demand test drives of the 2018 Atlas SEL Premium using Prime Now. Over the next two weekends (Sept. 22-24) and (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), Amazon Prime members in Los Angeles and Chicago can sign up for a limited number of home-based test drives of VW’s newest crossover SUV.
“We are very excited to work with Amazon to introduce more consumers to our newly-launched, 7-seater SUV through this unique test drive experience, said VW’s Greg Tebbutt. “We know people have limited time and are always looking for convenient ways to test out a new product and with the Amazon Prime Now service, we are able to bring the all-new Atlas to customers’ doorsteps.”
Amazon Prime members can schedule 45- to 60-minute test drives with a VW expert, requesting the vehicle be delivered to a desired location. Customers located outside the zip codes involved in the program will be encouraged to visit VW.com and schedule a test drive at the closest dealership.
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