It’s a Buyer’s Market - Black Enterprise

It’s a Buyer’s Market

As Detroit’s 2008 North American International Auto Show picks up steam this week and the looming thoughts of a recession rear its ugly head, automakers realize this will be a tough year. Auto analysts and industry insiders estimate that total U. S. sales will hover slightly below 16 million for the first time in 10 years. GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Honda have made provisions to decrease production for the first quarter, while Toyota and Nissan are stepping theirs up.

Despite fluid gas prices and the instability occurring in the housing market, North American International Auto Show F-Series, Chevy’s Silverado, and Dodge’s Ram continued to rank as three of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the U. S. for 2007, accounting for 41% of the sales in this category. Based upon what was revealed at Detroit’s auto show last week, both Ford and Dodge are upping the ante in the light duty full-size truck segment with fresh designs and more car-like interiors coming this fall, making a strident effort to attract more women.

Until the new trucks arrive, automakers will continue to pile on incentives in this competitive segment. In 2007, automakers doled out an average of $ 4,200 per light duty full-size truck sold, according to the Power Information Network. Automakers only spent more on the mid-luxury car category.

While many customers are turning toward more fuel efficient vehicles, automakers realize consumers are still in need of gas-guzzling pick-ups for pulling boats, carrying heavy loads, and working in the fields. Just driving through the parking lot of any Home Depot or Lowe’s, you won’t see a shortage of light duty full-size trucks. Toyota’s bigger and bolder Tundra has given the Detroit-based automakers a run for their money. In 2007, Ford’s and Chevy’s light truck sales fell by 105,450 and 17,812 units respectively, while Toyota’s sales climbed by 72,047. Its obvious Toyota is taking a bite out of Ford, which is why they managed to displace Ford Motor Co.’s reign as the No. 2 U.S. automaker last year.

Toyota is playing the incentive game just like the domestics with their redesigned truck, increasing market share and racking up sales. Although the average Tundra retailed for $29,818, a substantial $1,358 more than its nearest competitor, the Honda Ridgeline, Toyota’s average finance rate on a 60-month loan was 3.29%, almost 1% less than the light full-size duty truck segment. And the average customer rebate offered on the Tundra was $2,809 last year, $566 more than what was being offered on the Chevy.

In addition to the truck market remaining competitive with incentives this year, automakers have an excess inventory of sports coupes and convertibles in inventory this month. So, if you’re in the market for a snazzy new vehicle, its time to make your move. BLACKENTERPRISE has provided you with 20 great deals to consider, before finalizing your shopping list. Besides the Saturn Sky on our list, which has a strict non-negotiable policy, you should be able to buy most of the vehicles we recommend near or below