By on February 16, 2018

2017 Nissan Rogue SL - Image: Nissan

It’s not fair to say there’s no truth in advertising; commercials often show vehicles driving in a straight line down a dry road, and we all know they can do that. Only the most gullible among us thinks a new muscle car will improve their love life faster than Billy Dee Williams can crack open a can of Colt 45.

All too often, smokin’ deals do not await shoppers who leave the house without reading the fine print. And even that fine print can hide whether you’re actually getting a bargain. With President’s Day coming up on Monday, here’s a few examples of juicy car promotions that are sure to waste someone’s time.

Thanks to the folks at CarsDirect, who spend much of the day concerning themselves with such things, we now know not to be suckered in on a $199 lease on the outgoing 2017 Ford Fiesta. This offer, available in California, amounts to $241 a month for 36 month after a $1,499 downpayment. For a buck more a month, you could have a 2018 Ford Focus SEL instead. Four more smackeroos nets you a new Fusion SE with tech package.

While offers vary by region, buyers are more likely than lessees to find a Fiesta deal. Ford has $2,000 in customer cash on the hood of new Fiestas nationwide, with other incentives available for certain customers.

One shouldn’t pay much attention to ads claiming “up to $3,030 off MSRP” on a Nissan Rogue, either, unless you’re hell-bent on buying a Midnight Edition model. To get the full discount, a buyer would need to spring for the uplevel trim and have their financing handled by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., which shaves $500 off the retail price. While lesser discounts are available for those seeking out lower-run Rogues, how many people are really interested in a SV-trim Nissan? Oh, right. Well, if that’s your bag, expect $1,780 cash back.

As this is 2018, juicy Rams sprout from advertisements everywhere. And what’s juicier than hearing of $11,856 in “total value”? You can just imagine eager would-be buyers shaving that sum from the MSRP of the one-up-from-base 1500 of their dreams (not TTAC readers, of course; they’re are too savvy to fall for such things.)

In reality, this lofty figure concerns only 2018 Big Horn models in a crew cab configuration. At around $41k, it’s hardly a bargain basement truck. As well, only 5,750 of those incentive dollars seem to apply to this particular model, and that’s only after financing through Chrysler Capital. FCA’s fine print says the remainder is what an average buyer can expect in dealer discounts, which isn’t something one can, ahem, bank on.

If you’re a lease customer, however, the Ram world becomes more generous. In Warren, Michigan, for example, there’s $7,500 in lease cash available for this same model. In L.A., that incentive falls to $5,250.

Be on your toes, President’s Day shopper.

[Image: Nissan]

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22 Comments on “Don’t be Fooled by Misleading Ads This President’s Day...”


  • avatar
    NeilM

    “President” and “Misleading”?
    Say it ain’t so. [/s]

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    President’s Day? I thought we were supposed to buy sheets and mattresses, not cars.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    isn’t the urban legend-old wives’ tale-rule of thumb that Jan to Apr. is a suboptimal time to buy cars as the people around you in the showroom are flush with tax refunds and eager to sign on the line?

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Good point. I think December is good (at least for buying off the lot) because a lot of dealers are looking to make end of calendar year quotas.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Steve Lang (FWIW) always claimed that “TAX TIME” was a terrible time to buy because most dealers would just wait for the next idiot to come along.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          I remember that too, but I think he said that Tax Time was where the BHPH lots would always be in waiting for the next low income buyer to snag with an overpriced car.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Indi500fan- which cracks me up, because why would dealerships have end of calender year quotas?

        Conveniently, they don’t. haha.

        The OEMs don’t even use the calendar year as their fiscal or sales years. For some reason people have it in their head that companies use the same year as individuals do, but they don’t.

        I don’t want to say no dealership will set end of the year quotas for their employees, but its quite a bit less significant than buyers want to believe.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    There’s a reason they’re always called a “sales event” or anything but an actual “sale.”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I would just be happy if I stopped getting the mass junk mailings of dealers begging me to buy something.

    Thankfully around here we don’t get too many obnoxious radio commercials, we get drown in cheap mailings.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      We get these mailings with a car key affixed to them, you’re supposed to go to the dealer and see if it opens the car they have on display, lol. I haven’t had a car with an actual key that you turn since I sold my last Wrangler 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    mik101

    Wow Fiestas are expensive in the USA if that’s a lease “deal”.
    My financed payments were less than that on a 2014 in Canada. Suckers are going to be suckered I suppose.
    On the plus side the car hasn’t needed anything except brake pads, and a speaker that was replaced under warranty. Then again I wasn’t conned into paying more for the DCT and MFT that sinks both the Focus and Fiesta in ownership surveys…

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Did you get an comparable trim with similar MSRP?

      In my area a base hatchback Fiesta is around 13-14k discounted down from 17k MRSP. But if someone wants to pay an extra 10k for “options” on a Fiesta then they are indeed idiots.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ll trust a car ad when I don’t see a 200 word fine print legal disclaimer on the screen for 5 seconds.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Assume everything is a scam, and you’ll almost always be right.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      When I was selling my 2010 RAM in 2013, I listed it on craigslist.

      I got an email from a DEALERSHIP offering to buy it for my asking price.

      Of course its a scam, but I was also tempted because I really needed to sell it and I never thought I’d get asking price.

      So I call up the dealer and ask if its legit, and ask a bunch of questions to “get them”.

      they insisted it was legit. So I drove the hour and fifteen minutes to the dealership to sell them the car.

      To my thorough surprise, they paid my asking price, didn’t try to sell me another car, and I got on my way. evidently CPO trucks gather a HUGE ROI and so while I was happy with my price, the dealer wanted more CPO inventory. the lady there said they never get barely used cars in the country unless they buy from an auction.

      Even to this day I think back about it and wonder if there’s any way i got “scammed”, but I got the full asking price from the dealership,. and 7 years later and still no ones come after me for a bad check… haha.

  • avatar
    arach

    Sometimes these catch me. For example, our dealership had a $199 with $2000 down on a 24 month lease on a crew cab silverado.

    I almost called, but then wrote it off as a scam.

    Which makes me wonder. I wonder if there is like that one random legitimate dealer who thinks “Gosh we put this great offer out there and no one even called on it!”

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I am – but probably shouldn’t be – sort of surprised anyone looks at “up to” savings claims and thinks “I will actually get that on the car I want”.


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