The end of the calendar year is traditionally one of the best times of the year for discounts, as auto makers and dealers are making their last push for annual sales targets, and this year that has led to eye-popping deals, with multiple discounts of $10,000, on up to a 25-grand incentive on the BMW 650i Cabriolet.
Granted, that high-end BMW convertible starts at $110,000, but there are also a number of mainstream family haulers with hefty incentives of between $6,500 and $10,000, according to Canadian auto pricing site Unhaggle.com, and it’s not just luxury vehicles.
Radek Garbowski, co-founder of the site that offers free invoice pricing, listed the 2012 650i drop top as the largest December rebate offer he has seen so far, followed by a $20,000 offer on a ’12 BMW 7-Series. Garbowski says that full-size pickup trucks also offer major discounts, with GM’s outgoing GMC Sierra and Chevrolt Silverado trucks offering up to $11,500 off, with a ’12 Nissan Titan offering a $14,000 discount.
The site recently released a top five list of the most heavily discounted family vehicle and sub-$60,000 entry-luxury vehicles in December, both of which were topped by vehicles offering $10,000 rebates. The 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedan topped the mainstream family vehicle list, as certain versions reached the 10-grand discount plateau, although it likely belonged on the entry-luxury list.
A sizable $9,000 discount on the Nissan Pathfinder came in at number two, followed by Chrysler’s minivans (up to $8,500), Mazda’s CX-9 ($7,000) and Ford’s Oakville-built Edge (up to $6,500).
Of the top five, only the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan offered such discounts on 2013 models, whereas the Genesis and the Edge are the ones not radically redesigned or restyled for this new model year.
Among the less than-$60,000 luxury vehicles, the Volvo S80 and Lincoln MKS top the list with 10-grand rebates, followed by the sole 2013 model on this list, the Acura MDX (at $8,500).
That’s followed by a $6,250 incentive on the Infiniti G37 sedan, which will be renamed the Q50 when a replacement arrives for the 2014 model year, which may be much earlier than next fall, since Infiniti announced this week that the Q50 will debut in a few weeks at the Detroit auto show. The hot-selling BMW 3-Series rounds out this list, with a $5,000 contribution.
Also recently offering a $5,000 manufacturer rebate is the fully electric 2012 Nissan Leaf, that when combined with various provincial government incentive programs in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, means discounts of at least $10,500. Ontario offers the largest overall discount, with its recently announced $1,000 rebate on charging station installations for EV owners, giving prospective ’12 Leaf buyers a total discount of $14,500, for a vehicle that starts at $38,395 and eliminates your gasoline bill. That hefty discount assumes no further reduction from the Leaf dealer – likely a valid assumption, judging from when we bought our Leaf with no dealer or factory sweeteners almost a year ago – as the Leaf is still not sold by many Nissan dealerships.
New GM pickups revealed
Part of the reason for generous discounts on GM’s full-size 2012 pickups is because all-new 2014 models were recently unveiled by the company, and will go on sale in the second quarter of 2013.
The ’14 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado 1500 will feature three new and more powerful engines, including a V-6 and two V-8s, all of which offer direct injection and can shut down cylinders to help save fuel, which has become a major consideration for cost-conscious buyers, if surging demand for Ford’s F-150s with EcoBoost V-6 engines is any indication.
All three engines can run on four cylinders and, though power and fuel efficiency numbers are not yet available, the 4.2-litre V-6, 5.3-litre V-8 and 6.2-litre V-8 will also all use continuously variable valve timing, a fuel-saving trio of technologies GM says are not available on any other full-size pickup. Extended cab models will now open with more usual front-hinged doors, in order to improve passenger access in tight spots.
The bed will offer CornerStep bumpers with cutouts in them and handholds for easier cargo bed access, while crew cabs will offer a 6-foot-6 box, in addition to the previous 5-foot-8 box. New LED lighting embedded in the frame rails will help owners find what they need in the bed, while a damped tailgate closing is one of many refinements GM promises for its new work horses.
New safety gear such as forward Collision Alert, lane departure warning with an active (vibrating) safety seat, and front and rear park assist are class-exclusive features, says GM.
For those looking for a smaller pickup, GM also confirmed that it is working on a resurrection of the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado pickup.
BMW to add M6 Gran Coupe
BMW will add to its high-performance M family with the addition of the M6 Gran Coupe early this summer, BMW Canada confirmed recently, featuring the same monstrously powerful 560-hp turbocharged V-8 as in the M6 coupe and convertible, but with the added practicality of four doors.
If this recipe sounds like what the M5 is supposed to offer, you’re right, though the new-generation M5 has gone away from its hard-core performance focus, epitomized by its loud and racy V-10, since replaced for 2012 with the same 4.4-litre turbo V-8. However, the M5’s mill is rated at 10 fewer horses than the M6 trio, which offer the most powerful M engine, but an equal 500 lb-ft of torque.
The M6 GC’s curb weight hasn’t been disclosed, but BMW’s preliminary acceleration figures suggest the Gran Coupe is slightly lighter than all three of those similarly powered M products, given its 4.1-second, 0-100 km/h time, compared to 4.2 for the coupe, 4.3 for the convertible, and 4.4 seconds for the M5.
Doesn’t look like the M5’s six-speed manual transmission option will be available, however.
Toyota on track to reclaim global best-selling title
Toyota is set to reclaim the title of best-selling auto maker in the world for 2012 from GM, in a year where strong sales in North America and Asia overcame weakness in Western Europe and South America.
Global sales will surpass 80 million vehicles by the end of this calendar year, the first time so many vehicles will be sold, according to estimates by U.K.-based auto forecasting firm LMC Automotive.
The number two spot is still too close to call, with GM battling Volkswagen for the global sales silver, Bloomberg reported this week – the sales figures for both within 1 per cent of each other heading into the last weeks of the year.
But Volkswagen hopes to push itself up these standings to the top spot by 2018, aggressively planning to add 600,000 vehicles worth of capacity in 2013, about double GM and Toyota next year, according to the report.
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