Labor Day Car Deals Off to an Early Start

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The Labor Day holiday is still two weeks away, but that is not interfering with automakers’ plans to clear out this year’s models to make way for the new 2015 versions. Auto sales growth has slowed over the summer, and Labor Day is a good time to try to pump up some excitement among potential new car buyers.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) jumped the gun on Labor Day sales by rolling out its holiday offers on July 29, a full month early. The deals, which run through Tuesday, September 2, cover most of the company’s 2014 cars and crossovers. Not included are the 2015 Mustang, the F-Series pickups, and vans. The offer is 0% financing for 72 months.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has rolled out its Labor Day deals on Chevrolet cars and light trucks last Wednesday. Like Ford, the deals are good through September 2, and Chevy included the 2014 Cruze, Malibu, and Impala sedans, as well as all Camaros, the Traverse crossover, and all the company’s Silverado pickups. Chevy is offering 0% financing for 72 months along with a 90 days of deferred payments.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) has begun promoting a 0% financing deal for 60 months on its 2014 Avalon, Sienna, Prius, Venza, and the mid-year 2014 Camry.

Nissan’s offer is similar to the others: 0% financing for 60 months on the 370Z coupe, 370Z roadster, and the Pathfinder hybrid; 0% financing for 72 months on 2014 Maximas and Muranos; and 0% financing for 36 months on certain models of Altima, Versa, Quest, Murano, and Juke.

Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge division has an offer similar to the Chevy payment deferment deal.

Automaker incentives have risen almost 6% to date this year to $2,702, according to Autodata Corp. July incentives were up 13% year-over-year at $2,883 per vehicle. The research firm noted that incentives on Chevy cars and light trucks are down 10% this year to an average of $2,889, while Ford has raised its incentives 10% to $3,214.

For car buyers who’ve been waiting for a little more in the way of incentives before making the decision to buy, prospects are good for even better deals ahead because the industry typically juices up the incentives in the second half of the year. And because market share has slipped this year at both Chevy and Ford, the carmakers could sweeten their incentives even more.

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