Smart Car Shopping: Great Car Deals For July 2010

July 6, 2010

Even though new-car sales were off in June, are car shoppers any closer to getting a really good deal this July?

First, some disappointing news from TheCarConnection's car-pricing partners over at TrueCar. According to their analysis, the discount war Toyota kicked off in the spring has simmered down to a few mild border skirmishes. According to their figures, the average new car buyer in June got significantly less help, in the form of discounts from the automakers, than just a month earlier.

Longtime industry observers are particularly surprised by the lack of Fourth of July discounts. Most automakers didn't announce much in the way of special price cuts for the holiday weekend--a sign that they really are cutting back on incentive spending.

Don't be surprised to see that change this month, as automakers look at weak June sales reports and realize that, aside from some smoke and mirrors involving fleet sales, they didn't have a great month.

As TrueCar reminds us, for the most part, the heavy discounts of spring aren't coming back. They're gone because automakers have learned to manage their inventories more effectively. They're no longer sitting on large caches of unsold cars they need to get rid of--and after years of bankruptcies and downsizing, they've slimmed down to a more realistic size for a smaller economy.

That doesn't mean, however, that you can't find a great deal. It means you need to do your homework--and we'll help. Call it auto's death row: TrueCar's helped us identify vehicles that are in their final model years and are likely to be offered with moderate to steep discounts before someone pulls the plug for good.

A few of your best new-car deals for this month could include:

2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser

The retro icon was reported dead last year, only to be resuscitated by Fiat because of Chrysler's lack of product. This time, it's really gone, with the last Cruiser set to roll off the assembly line this Friday. So why buy an aging model? It's hard to beat its practicality--the seating of a mid-size sedan with the flat load floor and huge tailgate of an SUV, but at accessible ground level. It's also easy to beat the dealership in negotiations right now. Chrysler will give you $2,000 cash back, or 0% financing for up to 60 months. The dealership will most likely flex further than that - they want these things off the lot in preparation for the Fiat 500, the most exciting thing they've had to sell since...well, since the Cruiser was new.

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