Car Buying

Are There Incentives for Used Cars?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

If you've shopped for a new car, then you're probably well aware of incentives -- also sometimes called special offers or deals. Essentially, these deals come from automakers and give drivers some sort of incentive to buy a new vehicle, whether it's through a lower interest rate, a zero-down lease or cash back. What about used cars? Are they available with incentives? Or are you stuck negotiating your own terms when it comes to pre-owned vehicles? We're taking a closer look.

Primarily Certified Pre-Owned

Although we normally think of incentives as a new-car program, several major automakers also offer incentives on certified pre-owned used cars. Currently, automakers offering such incentives include Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen, though other brands have been known to offer these types of deals on occasion.

Unfortunately, automakers don't offer incentives on noncertified used vehicles. In other words, you'll only be able to take advantage of special incentive terms if you buy a vehicle with a certified pre-owned warranty from one of the automakers that we've listed.

What Kind of Incentives?

Unfortunately, automakers don't provide the same range of incentives on used vehicles as they do on new cars. Leasing is out because there aren't any automakers that offer lease programs for used vehicles. Automakers don't offer any special cash-back deals either, since the exact situation of each used-car transaction relates to the individual dealership and car involved.

That leaves special financing terms, and each of the automakers that offers incentives on its certified pre-owned vehicles has some sort of special financing deal available for qualified shoppers. Chevrolet, for instance, is currently offering 1.9 percent interest for up to 36 months, while Ford is offering 2.9 percent. The current leader on certified pre-owned incentives is Kia, which is touting an excellent 0.9 percent deal on all certified pre-owned models in dealer inventory.

Dealer Used-Car Deals

If a certified pre-owned vehicle isn't for you, then you may want to consider a dealership deal on a used car. Dealer deals won't be as comprehensive as automaker deals; they won't offer thousands of dollars back, for instance or 0 percent interest over a long term. Many dealerships offer low interest rates and at least a few hundred dollars back on used cars, however, to help convince shoppers to buy from them. We want to remind you, though, that these offers should be in addition to a negotiation -- and that means that they should only be applied at the end of a deal after you've negotiated your best price on the vehicle.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Are There Incentives for Used Cars? - Autotrader