How automakers make a new car so hard to resist

WASHINGTON — Incentive packages to buy new cars are averaging more than four times the jump in new car prices that occurred from 2016 to 2017, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

“On average, the average package was worth about $3,800, which can put a nice dent in the overall price of the car,” said Janet Bodner, the editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

The average price for new cars, by comparison, jumped about $800 from 2016 to 2017.

Generous cash rebates and low-interest financing from manufacturers are a response to slowing car sales, Bodner said.

“If you’re looking for a luxury sedan, you can get one at a pretty good bargain-basement price,” Bodner said.

Some stand out deals include:

  • About $5,000 cash back on the Ford Taurus
  • About $3,500 cash back for the Toyota Avalon, which “many compare favorably with the costlier Lexus,” Bodner noted

The popularity of SUVs is driving the incentives to get people to buy the aforementioned sedans, but Bodner said the best-selling SUV for 20 years in a row — the Honda CRV — still isn’t a bad buy.

The Honda CRV was fully redesigned in 2017 and has a resale value of 54 percent of a new car sticker price after three years. Other larger SUVs with strong resale values mentioned by Bodner are the Toyota Highlander and the Toyota 4Runner.

According to Kiplinger’s, the average price paid for new cars in late 2017 was a record high of $35,082 — up $793 from 2016.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up