This Week in Car Buying: July’s Top Deals; Tesla buyer’s market; Inventories up; Subaru BRZ priced

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Summer is time for a road trip and what better way to see the U.S.A. is behind the wheel of an SUV. For July, Kelley Blue Book has found a number of SUVs as well as family and luxury cars with hot deals that should be on buyers’ shopping lists.

“This month’s list of standout deals features a mix of small and large SUVs, plus a variety of sedans that range from fun-to-drive and sporty to comfortable and luxurious,” notes Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com “The top spot on our list goes to a fuel-efficient compact SUV that offers a small third row and class-above presence, the 2016 Nissan Rogue.”

The Japanese automaker is currently offering a 3-year lease at just $189 per month with $1,899 down. This compact SUV is bookended by the 2016 Chevrolet Trax subcompact crossover, which can be leased for 39 months at $199 per month and $1,619 up front and the full-size 2016 Ford Expedition which has a $4,000 rebate plus 0-percent financing.

Luxury cars also dominate the list, with vehicles ranging in size from the compact 2016 Acura ILX to the full-size 2016 Cadillac XTS. The former can be leased for $219 per month over 3 years with $2,499 due when signing, while Cadillac is offering $4,000 cash back with 0-percent financing. Two midsize rear-drive luxury sedans, the 2016 Hyundai Genesis and 2016 Lexus IS make the list, both on sweet  lease deal. The Genesis is available for $299 per month over 36 months with $2,999 down while the Lexus can be had for $329 per month over 3 years with $1,599 up front.

Three family cars round out the list—the 2016 Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat and Buick Regal. The Toyota can be leased for $189 per month over 36 months with $1,999 down. The VW and Buick both offer cash back, the Passat with a $1,000 rebate and the Regal with $2,750. Both have 0-percent financing as well.

A buyer’s market for Tesla

Two recent moves by Tesla may signal that a buyer’s market for its upscale electric vehicles is developing. Following the introduction of a less expensive and shorter range 2017 Tesla Model S 60 sedan priced at $65,000 comes word that the 2017 Tesla Model X 60D has been added to the line at $74,000. It has a 200-miles per charge range compared to the 237-mile figure of the Model X 75D, which costs $83,000. Both of these Model X variants have all-wheel drive, while the base Model S is rear-drive only.

In addition to offering lower priced models, Tesla also said it has discontinued its resale value guarantee program as of July 1. Begun in 2013, the program would repurchase cars from customers at a predetermined resale value after three years. By buying back the cars, Tesla could more actively manage the secondary market for its cars and thereby keep residual values up. The approach has been successful, since Tesla has outperformed other EVs on resale.

According to Eric Ibara, director of Residual Value Consulting, KBB Valuations and Industry, “The earliest Tesla Model S 85 kWh battery models which were 2012 model year versions are currently holding their values at just above 50 percent, four years after they were put into service.  Based on the data we have so far, it appears that the 2013 and 2014 model years (with a 60kWh battery) will follow a similar pattern. The Model S is retaining its value significantly better than other volume EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf or the Ford Focus EV or even the Toyota Prius Plug-In.” Tesla residuals have been running at more than twice the level of other EVs and plug-in hybrids.

By pulling these price supports, the company is essentially getting out of the used Tesla market and directing those resources towards its push to increase volume. As a result, used values may begin to drop, which in turn could put additional pressure on new model pricing. With Wall Street expecting higher vehicle deliveries, Tesla may have to get much more aggressive in marketing and sales.

Inventories creep upward

With the summer selling season in full swing, auto makers are stocking their dealerships with inventory to prepare for summer shutdowns as well as the 2016 model year build out. As a result, the industry’s days’ supply on July 1 stood 66 days, a 7-day increase over the June 1 figure. Days’ supply is the number of days it would take to sell all the cars on the ground at current sales rates. The number is also greater than the 61 days recorded a year earlier.

Among the manufacturers having the biggest increases in stock were Mitsubishi, which saw supplies climb by 20 days’ worth to 102, the highest inventory among all makes. Among mainstream brands, Fiat is highest at 143 days’ supply followed by Buick and Ram at 113 days each. Subaru continues to have the tightest supplies at 27 days, which is actually up 4 from a month earlier.

2017 Subaru BRZ priced

Pricing for the updated 2017 Subaru BRZ has been announced with MSRPs starting at $25,495 for the 2.0 Premium model equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. Manual-equipped Limited models start at $27,645 while the automatic version is $28,745. The limited edition 2.0 Series Yellow is priced at $29,695. All prices exclude $820 delivery. An optional performance package available on the Limited 6-speed manual is priced at $1,195. Read the KBB First Review here.

The rundown

Continuing its practice of mid-cycle refreshes across its model line, Nissan takes the wraps off the updated 2017 Nissan Pathfinder.

The top dog in the all-new Prius family is the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. We get behind the wheel in this Kelley Blue Book First Review.

Adding more of a performance edge to its compact sedan lineup, Hyundai has added the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport, which offers sharper handling and 200 horsepower.

 

In the market for a new car? Explore these useful tips on how to get the best deal:

Kelley Blue Books Complete Guide to Incentives

All you need to know about leasing

Which dealer services are right for you?

What to look for in your next economy car

Ten insider tips for new car buying


 

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