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deals of the week

Audi A4

If you want a deal on a pure electric vehicle (EV), well, Mitsubishi has the offer for you – and it seems to be working. Relatively speaking, of course.

Last month, Mitsubishi Canada sold 26 i-MiEV battery cars, the best month since the mid-December launch in 2011, says Mitsu.

"Total i-MiEV sales now stand at 117 units and [Mitsubishi Canada] i-MiEV certified dealers also grew by 10 in May to a national total of 40," says the company. That's not bad, compared to sales in the United States. Automotive News reports that Mitsu down south has sold just 295 i-MiEVs since last November's launch.

"It's kind of been the invisible launch," a West Coast Mitsubishi dealer told Automotive News, noting that even in green-friendly Los Angeles the i-MiEV has been invisible on the streets and in the news media. "The car is very good, make no mistake about it. But there's very little marketing support. Customers just don't really know about it."

Battery car buyers in Canada should know about two discount avenues they may pursue – one supplied by taxpayers in the form of government subsidies in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and the other in rebates from Mitsu Canada itself. With a base price of $32,998, the i-MiEV is the least expensive EV in Canada – at least among EVs sold by established auto makers.

If you live in Ontario, the government rebate is $8,500, while in B.C. it's $5,000 and in Quebec the subsidy is $8,000. B.C. residents can also get $500 per unit to offset the cost of a residential charging station.

"In the province of B.C., the incentive is applied before tax. In the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the incentive is applied after tax," notes Shawn Bryan, who manages the i-MiEV project for Mitsu Canada.

On top of the government help, Mitsu Canada has in play a $1,500 factory-to-dealer rebate that can be combined with any other available offer – including a loyalty rebate for existing Mitsu owners ($1,000) and even a $500 factory-to-customer rebate for new graduates. And then there is the 3.5 per cent financing for up to 84 months that is available from Mitsubishi, too. Add everything up, and an i-MiEV buyer could see discounts and rebates worth $11,500 or more on the electric car. You simply cannot get an EV with a factory warranty for less.

But you can look at the alternatives, nonetheless. The Chevrolet Volt, for instance, lists for $41,545, though with a government rebate you will pay much less. According to General Motors Canada spokesman George Saratlic, the Volt, with its on-board, range-extending gasoline motor, is up for an $8,231 incentive in Ontario (after tax), while in Quebec the rebate is $7,769 (after tax), and in B.C. the before-tax subsidy is $5,000.

Then there is the Nissan LEAF, which lists for $38,395. According to Nissan spokesperson Jennifer McCarthy, the Ontario incentive is $8,500, while it is $8,000 in Quebec and $5,000 in B.C. She also points out that the $8,500 in Ontario is applied on the after-tax value if you purchase or finance an EV, but if you lease, "all applicable taxes are calculated on the pre-incentive value." If you lease or buy in Quebec, the incentive goes on after taxes, while in B.C. the $5,000 is applied before taxes whether you lease or finance.

The takeaway here is that if you want a pure EV, you can get one from Mitsubishi for less than $22,000, brand new, with a three-year/60,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty and factory coverage on the power train for five years/100,000 km. The i-MiEV's battery is warrantied for 96 months or 160,000 km. The egg-shaped car is small, but it's a hatchback, which makes it versatile. As a city runabout, the i-MiEV could make sense to a fair number of drivers.

Of course, just a handful of true believers and early adopters will even consider an i-MiEV or any other EV, regardless of discounting. Most everyone wants a gas-powered car, with a small number interested in gasoline-electric hybrids or diesels.

Deals of the Week, therefore, found offers from Audi Canada worth as much as $1,500 on a $39,700 Audi A4 sedan with quattro all-wheel drive. Audi does not do much discounting in Canada, so this is noteworthy.

Toyota? Well, Matrix hatchback sales were up 64.4 per cent in May, and at least one reason why is the $3,000 factory-to-customer rebate. And Deals found discounts worth as much as $3,000 on a $45,595 Mazda CX-9 SUV

As usual, Deals of the Week obtained pricing information from, among other sources. Consult your dealer for all the details. In the meantime, here are the numbers.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Mitsubishi canon rent TozawaHiroshi Mitsubishi  

2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

  • MSRP: $32,998
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,550
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $550
  • Factory discount: $1,500 (dealer delivery bonus factory-to-dealer rebate)
  • Taxable subtotal: $32,498
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $36,722.74
  • Factory discount: $500 (education edge factory-to-customer rebate)
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (loyalty rebate factory-to-dealer rebate)
  • Government discount: $8,500 (electric vehicle Ontario government rebate)
  • Final price: $26,722.74
  • 3.5 per cent finanicng for up to 84 months

Audi A4 Audi Audi

2012 Audi A4 2.0T quattro

  • MSRP: $39,700
  • Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $2,095
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,700
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (alternative cash factory-to-dealer rebate)
  • Taxable subtotal: $39,095
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $44,177.35
  • Factory rebate: $500 (loyalty cash factory-to-consumer rebate)
  • Final price: $43,677.35

Toyota Matrix Toyota Bill Petro Toyota

2012 Toyota Matrix AWD

  • MSRP: $24,150
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,565
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $850
  • Taxable subtotal: $24,865
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $28,097.45
  • Factory discount: $3,000 (non-stackable cash discount factory-to-consumer rebate)
  • Final price: $25,097.45
  • 0.0 per cent financing for up to five years

Mazda CX-9 Mazda David Dewhurst Mazda  

2012 Mazda CX-9 GT AWD

  • MSRP: $45,595
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,995
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,800
  • Factory discount: $2,000 (Mazda retail cash factory-to-dealer rebate)
  • Taxable subtotal: $43,790
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $49,482.70
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (grad award factory-to-consumer rebate)
  • Final price: $48,482.70

Pricing information source: Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Dealer discounts are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis.