This Week in Car Buying: Top February Deals; GMC Acadia priced; Buy a Chevy, Drive Daytona; AutoNation paperwork headaches
Smart shoppers can find buys not only on 2015 models still lingering in dealer lots, but also on the current crop of 2016s because of growing inventories as dealers prepare for the spring selling season. The days’ supply (the number of days it would take at the current sales rate to deplete all vehicles in stock) stood at 77 days as of Feb. 1, according to Automotive News, up from 61 days a month earlier. A 60-day supply of vehicles is considered ideal, but also on a seasonal basis; the February figure is actually down 5 days from a year earlier. Still, more cars mean more incentives for a number of midsize sedans and even a few crossovers.
“With this being a leap year, there is one extra selling day in February, meaning one more day this month that shoppers can get a great deal on a new car,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for KBB.com. “Dealers are still trying to close out many remaining 2015 model-year new vehicles on their lots now that we are in the second month of the year. So the deals on 2015 models abound. But this month’s list also features several new 2016 model-year cars and SUVs, meaning there’s something for just about everyone.”
Topping the list is the 2016 Buick Enclave which is being offered on a $319 per month lease deal for 39 months with just $1,819 down. Although the Enclave is nearing the end of this generation, it still offers plenty of space and value in the hot crossover SUV segment. Interest in mid-size sedans has dropped as a result of the popularity of crossovers, so as a result, many of February deals are on traditional 4-door models like the 2016 Chrysler 200, which is being offered with a $4,500 rebate, a considerable discount over the $25,140 MSRP and the KBB Fair Purchase Price of $23,594. Two 2015 compact models, the Dodge Dart and Ford Focus, also are being offered with hefty rebates of $3,000 each, while the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth has cash back of $3,250. Also available with a rebate is the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which has a $1,750 spiff plus 0-percent financing.
On the leasing side of the ledger, shoppers have the pick of several new models including the 2016 Ford Fusion at $169 per month over 3 years with $2,309 down; the 2016 Acura ILX for $229 per month for 3 years and $2,499 up front; the 2016 Chevy Trax at $199 per month over 39 months and $1,259 down, and the 2016 Toyota Corolla for $149 per month over 3 years with $1,999 due at signing.
2017 GMC Acadia priced
The first of three shared-platform GM crossovers to be redesigned, the new 2017 GMC Acadia has been priced $1,905 lower than the model it replaces despite carrying even more standard content. While the new Acadia is shorter and about 700 pounds lighter than the existing vehicle, GM has said the next generation Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse won’t be downsized, creating more differentiation among the trio.
The base front-drive 2017 Acadia SL starts at $29,995, while the front-drive SLE model is $33,375, the SLT is $39,275 and the range topping Denali in front-drive is $45,845. All-wheel drive versions add $2,000 to the SLE and Denali models and $3,100 on the SLT. GMC will also offer a new model in the range, the 2017 Acadia All Terrain AWD that opens at $40,040 and boasts an advanced all-wheel drive system with Active Twin Clutch. That model will be complemented by an SLE trim level All Terrain in late summer with pricing to be announced later. All figures exclude $925 for delivery.
The all-new Acadia is powered by a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, while a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is optional. Although reduced in scale, it still retains 3-row seating as standard in all models except the All Terrain, which has covered storage bins in lieu of a third bench.
Buy a Chevy, drive Daytona
Chevrolet announced a new option where buyers of select models can take delivery of their vehicle at Daytona International Speedway, get a tour of the facility and drive their vehicle around the track. Buyers will also get a keepsake to commemorate the experience as well as authentication that the vehicle was delivered and driven at Daytona.
The new Chevrolet Delivery Center will be located in the speedway’s infield adjacent to the Gatorade Victory Lane. Customers can choose the delivery program as an option when ordering a vehicle. Eligible vehicles and pricing will be determined at a later date.
Chevrolet has a similar program for the Corvette, where buyers can take delivery at the Bowling Green, Ky., factory that includes a tour of the facility and taking delivery of the car in a showroom at the nearby National Corvette Museum. That delivery option is priced at $990.
AutoNation’s paperwork headache
Looking to streamline the vehicle buying process, the country’s largest dealer chain, AutoNation, had hoped to reduce the time to complete a transaction by doing most of the paperwork online. However, the retailer says that the documentation process is still too difficult to fully move to a digital platform. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told Automotive News that regulations are part of the stumbling block in making the transition to a paperless process and that in turn is delaying the implementation of the online selling platform called AutoNation Express.
“There are different pieces of it that we can get done, but we still need some regulatory change to get it completely done,” Jackson said in the report. “So [AutoNation Express] is probably rolling into 2017.”
The differences in state-to-state requirements for vehicle registration and sales documentation are part of the problem and the company is seeking ways to make the process unified. AutoNation is investing $100 million to develop its online platform and reported that a quarter of its business is generated through its own websites.
Where the overspenders are
Buyers who tend to overspend on new cars aren’t in the enclaves of the rich and famous, but rather in more modest surroundings—college towns, according to the personal finance website WalletHub. The site analyzed 2,750 U.S. cities to find out where buyers overspend on cars using an auto-loan-debt-to-income ratio as a determining factor. Big cities came out on the lower end of the scale, college towns, particularly East Lansing, Mich. (Michigan State), West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue), State College, Pa. (Penn State) and Morgantown, WV., (West Virginia), on the high end. Those with the lowest car debt to income tended to be in wealthy areas like Cupertino and Marina del Rey, Calif., Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and suburban Washington, D.C.
“In most [college towns], the average car-loan debt is three or four times higher than the median annual income,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Automotive News. “Many students are not working full-time jobs and have low incomes, but often times, a parent will cosign for a car loan. Other times, student loans may be used to actually pay off the car loan.”
When appearances are everything, Ford has you covered with the new 2016 Ford Escape Sport Appearance Package.
Another all-new crossover SUV, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 has been priced with GM’s luxury division announcing a base price of $39,990.
Looking for an all-new 2017 model and wondering what’s coming down the pike? Check out the complete list on The Class of 2017: New Cars Ready to Roll.