The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Luxury Carmakers Are Making Deals

October 02, 2008

TAMPA BAY, FL – Several major luxury brands, including BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Infiniti, are promoting discounted leases or other price-cutting deals to spur sales, according to www.tampabay.com.

In August, 63 percent of luxury vehicle sales involved some kind of cut-rate financing, compared with 43 percent a year earlier, according to data from the Power Information Network (PIN), which harvests transaction data from dealerships. The average cash rebate offered by luxury brands in August was $3,240, up from $2,624 a year earlier, PIN’s surveys found. But a few brands went above and beyond. Land Rover’s British-made SUVs went off lots in August with an average $7,016 cash rebate. Land Rover’s deals outdid Cadillac and Lincoln — which have tended to discount more heavily than European and Japanese brands. General Motors Corp.’s Cadillac brand offered cash rebates averaging $4,105 a vehicle last month, up from $2,758 a vehicle the year before.

Sales in the “lower luxury” car segment, which includes the BMW 3-Series, Acura TL, Infiniti G35, and Lexus ES and IS models, are down 10.3 percent for the year through Aug. 31, according to Autodata figures. That’s almost five times worse than the 2.1 percent decline for passenger-car sales overall. Total luxury car sales are down 14.2 percent for the first eight months of 2008. Luxury SUV sales are down nearly 18 percent for the year so far — a decline that understates the accompanying effect on carmakers’ profits.

BMW’s U.S. marketing arm has extended its low-interest-rate financing offers on 2008 models to the end of October, though the deals on certain models aren’t as generous as in August. If you qualify, you can get a 0.9 percent loan on a 335i sedan or a free automatic transmission.

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