Zip Codes: A Key to Unlocking Car Deals

Unbeknown to many, ZIP codes can actually help you get the best car deals. Why? Vehicle rebates can do way more than what most people think they’re designed for. The commercials you see on TV are merely the tip of the iceberg, but if you look into it further, the truth is that car dealers need to move cars and trucks off local lots. This is where ZIP codes come in.

By keying in the ZIP code when looking at car deals online, you may uncover incentives offered exclusively in a local area, according to Brad Korner, general manager for Cox Automotive Rates & Incentives in Ann Arbor Michigan.

To give you a better picture, here's a comparison of vehicle incentives in different localities, as reported by AIS Rebates, a company that does analysis on rebates:

In Chicago, a 2017 Malibu LT offers $4,000 in incentives compared to the $3,000 that Detroit offers. In Tampa, FL, you can get $4,000 in incentives versus the $2,000 that Detroit has for a 2017 Buick Envision. Meanwhile in Charlotte, N.C., a 2017 Chevy Impala LT has $2,750 in incentives compared to in Detroit that has $3,750 as of late March.

Does this mean you can go on a head to another state to get better incentives? Korner says no. As a standard rule, car makers only apply discounts specific to where your car will be registered. However, by becoming knowledgeable of the power of ZIP codes when it comes to rebates, you're likely to get the best car deals simply by negotiating. When you find for yourself the best deal for a car online, talk to the sales representative about so he can apply the proper discount.

Korner adds that carmakers also have the tendency to apply incentives to vehicle identification numbers. This tactic is used in order to dispose slow-selling cars in a specific area.

Keeping an Eye Out on Rebates

Once in a while, carmakers offer perks to a specific target market, let's say those who serve the military or college students. Cox Automotive Rates & Incentives' Alicia Rudowyj says that the technique is to know whether you are eligible or not.

One good example is Nissan's Grad Cash, a rebate worth $500, for a 2017 3702 Coupe. This special offer is given to college students or those who have graduated recently, within the past two years. What you need to supply to grab that discount is a proof that you’re currently enrolled in a university or papers that prove you'll be graduating or have graduated.

The same discount also applies to military men, specifically, those who are currently serving, veterans who have retired within 12 months, and those who have retired and can present proof of active or reserve duty for at least 20 years.

Many other carmakers offer different kinds of rewards, say, you have been entirely using the same model for many years, or have always patronized the same brand. You can be eligible for a loyalty incentive.

Others offer discounts to old car models that are still available, as well as rebates for cars that aren't exactly popular, in order to encourage customers into buying it instead of getting the latest model.

Limited offers are also a dime a dozen during auto shows, as well as other special events including holidays.

Carmakers Could Go Unorthodox

Sometimes, automakers go the unconventional route, like selling cars in places you'd think it shouldn’t be. Huge retail giants have taken advantage of their popularity and have started offering consumers car promos. Costco, for example, has an auto-buying program and availing it could get you the lowest prices ever.

How are they doing it? Simple – by getting rid of additional dealer fees and other extra charges from the middlemen. According to Florida-based car dealer Earl Stewart, Costco's gimmick allows for better savings by way of protecting consumers from charges you don’t usually see on your invoice. As if this isn't already a steal, Costco also offers pre-owned cars apart from brand-new ones.

Another way of saving up on car prices is by looking at comparison websites or online marketplaces wherein information on auto-buying programs., for instance, has information on how much a buyer spent for a specific brand of car or model. This information could help car shoppers save a ton.

A word of advice: you would not want to be in a hurry when purchasing a car. Taking your time often yields the best results.

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