There's one easy way to tell when manufacturers are ready to sweep showrooms clean of the current model-year crop of vehicles, and usher in the new year: the "special event" sales pitch.
This week it's Ford readying dealer lots for its revamped 2011 models, which include the kicky new Mustang and Fiesta. To get you car shoppers interested in driving something new home from the fleet of 2010 vehicles sitting under broiling summer heat, they're offering qualified buyers incentives and rebates.
The deals can get you zero-percent financing and up to a $1000 rebate. Of course, they count on your clean credit history. They're also different from region to region, so your area may not have the same deals as others. You might find the Mustang sold out in southern showrooms, for reasons we don't need to explain--while the big F-150 might be in short supply in the midwest and Texas. Hint: if you're able to drive one home from another area, you can use Ford's handy zip-code tool to figure out where your best deal can be had.
But before you hop in for a test drive, read the fine print at the bottom of Ford's site for all the details. Some vehicles are off the menu, including the 2010 Transit Connect van, the Taurus SE, the Edge SE with all-wheel drive, all Ford's hybrid models, the F-150 Raptor and the Mustang Shelby GT500.