This Week in Car Buying: Top deals of the month; Chevy launches High Desert Silverado; Bullish bank predicts 20 million sales; Top CPO programs named

By Matt DeLorenzo on May 13, 2016 11:00 AM

Cars continue to dominate the list of top deals for May, with more than a smattering of luxury models in the mix, according to data compiled by Kelley Blue Book. The top deal is for the 2016 Acura ILX compact luxury car, which is being offering for $219 per month for three years on just $2,499 down. One of two crossover SUVs to make the list is Buick’s aging Enclave with 2016 models offered for $331 per month for 39 months with $1,831 due at signing.

“Whether you’re looking for a midsize sedan, a sporty hatch, an SUV or luxury model, this month’s deals have something that will grab your attention, including a compact luxury sedan that offers sporty performance at a surprising good price holding the top spot,” Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book said of the ILX. “While KBB.com’s list of 10 Best Deals of the Month showcases offers that are available throughout all of May with some deals available well into summertime, many car shoppers can strike a great deal during holiday weekend sales events like the upcoming Memorial Day long weekend.”

Small cars continue to carry big incentives during a time of low gas prices, like the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth, which has a $3,250 cash-back offer on an MSRP of $23,295 or the 2016 Toyota Corolla, which is being offered for $149 per month for three years with $1,999 down. The 2015 Nissan Versa Note has $2,000 cash back on it, while the Chevy Trax subcompact crossover SUV has a 39-month $199 per-month lease with $1,619 due at signing.

Among the luxury car contingent are the 2016 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan with a $3,500 rebate and 0-percent financing and the mid-size 2016 Lexus GS 200t sedan, which can be leased for $399 per month for 36 months with $2,299 up front. Two mid-size cars round out the list, the 2016 Ford Fusion at $189 per month for three years with $1,999 down and the 2016 Hyundai Sonata, with a $1,750 rebate plus 0-percent financing.

Chevrolet Launches Silverado High Desert

Adding to its already impressive roster of special edition trucks, Chevrolet hopes to keep interest and pricing up with the introduction of the High Desert Package on LT, LTZ and High Country trim levels for its 2017 Silverado. In addition to refined exterior accents, the package includes a new cargo system that included lockable, washable bins and optional Magnetic Ride Control on the High Country version.

“The High Desert package blends the capability and utility of Silverado with the refinement and luxury of a Suburban,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet truck marketing. “It’s ideal for those customers who want both the security of a lockable cargo area, as well as the flexibility of a pickup truck bed.”

The flexible storage system includes dual side storage bins and a 3-piece hard tonneau cover. A cargo divider can be raised to secure smaller items, or lowered to access the full-length of the load floor. The rear tailgate can be remotely locked and unlocked using the vehicle’s key fob. LT models are equipped with 20-inch wheels shod with all-season tires, while buyers can opt for 22-inch wheels and all-terrain tires on the LTZ and High Country variants. The latter is also the first Silverado offered with Magnetic Ride Control that uses electro-magnetic shocks to control vehicle ride and handling.  LTZ and High Country models feature an EcoTec3 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower. The engine backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. The package, based on a 2014 concept shown at the 2014 SEMA show, will be available this fall with pricing announced closer to the on-sale date.

Also: Class of 2017 - New Cars Ready to Roll

Bank of America sees 20 million units, fierce competition

In releasing its annual “Car Wars” report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expecting to see new vehicle sales to peak at 20 million units in 2018 in market that will see a proliferation of models and brands, as well as a stepped-up pace of vehicle refreshes. The acceleration of the trend towards mid-cycle revamps of products to keep them fresh will see the average age of new vehicle designs in showrooms drop from 2.7 to 1.9 years by 2020.

Among the segments expected to grow with the introduction of new models are crossover SUVs, a segment that is expected to grow from 21 to 31 percent of the market and when combined with more traditional pickups, will account for 58 percent of all sales, up from 42 percent.

Over the period of 1997 to 2016, the industry averaged 39 new vehicle launches per year, with the high coming in 2007 at 55, according to the BofA report. Between 2017 and 2020, the financial institution expects an average of 58 per year with a high of 70 predicted for 2019. By 2020, consumers will have 319 nameplates to choose from, 68 of them new.

Among the winners in this scenario are companies that have aggressive plans to refresh or add to their product portfolios. Honda will be leading the way with a 24-percent annual turnover in its lineup by 2019 for a 96 percent refresh rate, while GM will overhaul 88 percent of its vehicles by 2020. The report says that European makes have longer cycle times and as a result, may lose some share over this period to newer models.

Lexus, Hyundai take Autotrader CPO honors

KBB.com’s sister site, Autotrader.com, has selected Lexus and Hyundai as the top brands on their list of Top Ten Certified Pre-Owned Programs. Autotrader analyzed all brands CPO terms to find out who offered the best terms when it came to manufacturer-backed warranties, roadside assistance and more.

“The number one benefit of any CPO program is the warranty, so we decided that the length of warranty should be the top criteria when choosing this year’s Best CPO Programs,” said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. “Hyundai’s CPO warranty is an extension of its exceptional new car warranty, and the Lexus warranty is simply the best in the luxury category.”

Hyundai’s warranty term offers 5 years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper limited coverage and 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain coverage from the date the vehicle was first retailed. Autotrader was also impressed by the low $50 deductible and the fact that the coverage is transferrable to subsequent owners in private sales. The Lexus CPO program, called L/Certified offers limited bumper-to-bumper coverage for up to 6 years and unlimited mileage from the original purchase date, along with no deductible for covered repairs and complimentary factory-recommend maintenance good for four visits over two years or 20,000 miles.

GM halts crossover sales

Sales of 2016 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossover/SUVs have been halted by GM as the automakers correct window stickers that it says inadvertently show mileage ranging 1 to 2 mpg higher than the actual EPA ratings. Nearly 60,000 vehicles are affected and can’t be delivered to customers until the window stickers are corrected, according to a company memo obtained by Automotive News. Replacement labels were being shipped Friday.

According to the report, the correct EPA ratings for all-wheel-drive versions of the Enclave, Traverse and Acadia are 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. The wrong labels showed 17 city, 24 highway and 19 combined. GM said that the error was discovered by engineers working on mileage ratings for 2017 model year labels. 

The rundown

Jaguar jumps into the crossover SUV market with its first entry in the form of the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace. Check our first review here.

The all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline is set to go on sale this summer. In our First Review, it deftly blends the utility of a truck with the comfort of an SUV.

Mini is commemorating the launch of the original in 1959 with the 2017 Mini Cooper/Cooper S Seven special edition package.

Shopping for a new car? Follow these links for helpful tips in your search and purchase:

Lease or buy your next new vehicle.

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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