How to Get the Best Car Rebate

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What Is a Vehicle Rebate?

A vehicle rebate is an incentive that gives cash to the buyer in exchange for the purchase of a new vehicle. This money can help you:

  • Put more cash towards the down payment.
    • This can help lower your monthly payments.
  • Purchase upgrades.
  • Buy a higher-priced model than you might not have otherwise been able to afford.
  • Get extra cash for your other expenses.

Researching Available Rebates

While some rebates are heavily advertised by the manufacturer on TV and online, others might be harder to find out about.

To get the best rebate available, it's important to do as much research as possible before you head in to the dealership. Here are a few tips you should use as you search:

  • Call different area dealerships for a price quote on the same model vehicle.
    • Because rebates can vary according to region and dealership, asking for a quote might help you find out about a rebate not being advertised in your area.
  • Research rebates for similar models.
    • If a similar car made by a different manufacturer is offering a better rebate, you might be able to use this information when you negotiate the purchase price of the vehicle you're actually interested in.
    • Mentioning rebates from other manufacturers can help to uncover rebates or incentives not being advertised once you're at the dealership.
  • E-mail the dealership or manufacturer about the possibility for future rebates.
    • Just because there aren't any current rebates doesn't mean there might not be a few on the horizon.
    • Rebates are often offered when new models are on the way or when a dealership is close to reaching a sales incentive.
  • Use the Internet to find rebates for a specific model.
    • Some websites, such as Edmunds.com, create lists of current rebates for all makes and models.
  • Look through regional news publications for ads.
    • This includes print and digital advertisements.
  • Join a dealership mailing list.
    • This is a good way to find out about the latest rebates as soon as they are advertised.

Tips for Negotiating Rebates

Even after you've found a decent rebate for a car you'd like to purchase, you'll still need to negotiate with the sales person to get the best price possible.

Use a few of these tips before you decide to settle:

  • Negotiate the vehicle purchase price FIRST.
    • Rebates have nothing to do with the price you're able to negotiate. Talk the sales representative down as much as possible first, then mention the rebate to get the best deal.
      • Some sales people may try to convince you that a rebate is a discount offered off the full invoice price to sway negotiations to their benefit.
  • Mention a better rebate you've found at a competitor's dealership.
    • This will let them know that they'll have to compete for your business.
  • Be flexible.
    • If you aren't locked in to one particular model, you'll likely get a better deal by shopping around for the best rebate available.
  • Check for other incentives.
    • Sometimes you might be able to use a different incentive along with a cash rebate, such as low-interest financing.
  • Buy at the right time.
    • Generally, though not always, more rebates are offered at the end of the year when new inventory arrives.
    • Buying at the end of the month or quarter can also help you to negotiate a better purchase price.
      • Salesmen will be motivated to move more vehicles for lower prices if they're close to a sales incentive.
  • If you can, work a cash deal.
    • Offering the dealership a large chunk of cash up front is always a good way to reduce the purchase price and negotiate for the best rebates and incentives.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to get the best rebate, we wish you luck in your pursuit of a great deal on a new car. For more helpful information, please refer to our New Car Buyers Guide.

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