factory-to-dealer cash for first carsEven many experienced car buyers don’t know about the “secret” factory-to-dealer rebates given to dealers by car manufacturers.

Car companies often select certain models and styles for these rebates, and the selection can change from month to month.

Dealers can use factory-to-dealer cash (sometimes called “marketing support”) in almost any way they choose but most pass it along to customers in the form of price discounts. Some dealers might advertise the low prices (not the rebates themselves) or simply offer a discount to customers during the buying process. He may choose to give all or just some of the total rebate.

Most customers are not aware of which vehicles have factory-to-dealer rebates, or the amounts. Therefore, it is difficult to factor in those discounts in the negotiating process. However, our sister web site, Best Car Deals, provides such information.  Some of these rebates are very large and represent a significant discount off of sticker price. This is particularly true for last year’s leftover models that dealers must sell in order to make room for this year’s incoming models.

If a dealer gets a factory rebate on a particular model and gives it to customers as a price discount, he still makes his usual profit on that car, even though customers may be getting a great deal. Smart customers will expect the dealer to contribute some of his usual profit as an additional discount — which makes an even better deal. In many cases, customers can buy a car for less than dealer invoice price, which is only possible if the car manufacturer is helping with the deal.

In summary, factory-to-dealer rebates can be a large factor in making new cars — especially first cars — more affordable. Look for vehicles with the largest factory-to-dealer rebates.

You can get free price quotes for any vehicle at Edmunds.com. The prices you get will contain any current price discounts and manufacturer incentives that are available.

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