Saturday June 21 is the official start of summer, and very near the end of the hot season for selling new vehicles in Canada.
Right now Canada's car dealers and manufactures are firing on all cylinders, burning to sell new cars and light trucks during a run that starts in spring and winds down around July 1. Once school lets out and summer vacation begins, dealer showrooms cool off and clear out as beaches warm up and swell with crowds. Everyone in Canada's car business knows that spring and early summer is the time to nail the sales numbers – or have a bad year overall.
Obviously time is running out. That's why Ford of Canada, for instance, is smack in the middle of its 120 Hour Sales Drive this weekend: 0.0 per cent financing for up to 72 months, plus up to $4,000 in cash refunds, plus another $500 in a 120 Hour Bonus and more if you dig a little deeper. Toyota has its 2013 Factory Event with 0.8 per cent financing for up to 84 months. Honda Canada is touting bi-weekly lease payments as low as $82 on the Civic.
For "10 days only," General Motors of Canada has its Big O event – 0.0 per cent financing for up to 84 months on Chevrolets and other deals besides. But it ends June 22, so "hurry." Hyundai Canada says it will give you 0.0 per cent financing for up to 96 months, or up to $10,000 in refunds, or more. Want a new Elantra? Hyundai says you can climb aboard for a $77 bi-weekly payment. Take that, Civic.
The deals are out there in what amounts to a last-gasp push from car companies to reel in and net buyers before their thoughts turn to golfing and camping and cottaging and visits to the grandparents at the old family cottage on Lake Huron, or in Truro, Nova Scotia or Climax, Saskatchewan. A missed sale during this season represents a customer who may not take the bait for another year. That's the reality of selling cars in Canada.
Now speaking of families, what about family transport? Globe Drive columnist Peter Cheney recently wrote about taking a road trip to Montreal in a Toyota Sienna, at which time he revisited "minivan paradise, revelling in the Sienna's space and efficiency." That tied in nicely with a conversation I just had with the founder of unhaggle.com.
"The minivan wars are certainly heating up as we get into prime vehicle buying season," noted Andrew Tai. Anyone who wants a Sienna should note that "Toyota increased the cash incentive on most 2013 Sienna models from $1,500 in May to $2,500 in June," said Tai. "Honda had done the same on the 2013 Odyssey models, increasing the cash incentive from $2,000 in April to $4,000 in May (held at $4,000 in June)."
Of course, Canada's top-selling minivan, the Dodge Grand Caravan "has been on 'permanent discount' since the 2013 model was introduced last year with a $8,000 cash incentive on the basic Canada Value Package trim (it is currently $8,100 in June) and $7,000 off all other higher trims," added Tai.
At times, Chrysler Canada has given an even bigger jolt to sales with a $19,999+HST Canada Value Package on the Grand Caravan, "which is hypothetically below dealer cost and beyond the $8,100 published incentive," says Tai, noting that the manufacturer is supporting dealers here in other less obvious ways, but no less real.
Dave Jamieson, vice-president of sales and marketing at Honda Canada argues that the Odyssey is more expensive than the Grand Caravan and the Sienna, but "it's the complete package." Most, including me, consider the Odyssey the best minivan for sale in North America, but there is a price to be paid for excellence. At least that price has been reduced during the sales season.
In unhaggle.com's world, buyers can expect to get about a $2,000 discount on top of the $4,000 in factory offers. That drops the price before taxes of a $34,150 Odyssey EX down to $29,978 – fee included – on cash purchases only. If you choose to finance and forgo the factory dollars, Honda Canada has 0.99 per cent financing for up to 48 months.
At Toyota, unhaggle.com shows more than $4,000 in discounts on a $35,730 all-wheel-drive (AWD) Sienna LE V6 with room for seven. The Toyota deal is for cash purchases only. For those who want to finance, Toyota Canada has 0.0 per cent financing for up to 60 months.
The Sienna is the only AWD minivan sold in Canada, by the way. That's the good news. The bad news for Toyota is that the Sienna was a below-average performer in the most recent J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. The luxurious version of the Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Town & Country, won the minivan category, while the Odyssey was the runner-up.
Another interesting deal is from Hyundai on the 2013 Sonata Hybrid. The unhaggle.com savings here comes to more than $6,000 off a $27,999 sticker price for cash buyers, only. That's a good price on a very fuel-thrifty sedan. If you must finance, Hyundai Canada has 2.99 per cent financing for up to 84 months.
Meanwhile, Nissan has been sweetening the deal on the Maxima, no doubt in the face of increasingly tough competition from the likes of Toyota's Avalon and Chevrolet Impala. A V-6 Maxima listing for $37,880 could be had with more than $4,000 in savings, according to .unhaggle.com. Toss is the available 2.90 per cent financing for up to 60 months and you're looking at a something quite rich on a model well known for holding its value over the years.
Deals of the Week consulted with www.unhaggle.com and other sources on these offers. As usual, pricing information here is subject to change, so consult your dealer for all the final details, including expiry dates for all offers.
2013 Honda Odyssey EX
- MSRP: $34,150
- Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,775
- Factory discount: $4,000 (cash purchases only)
- Unhaggle savings: $1,947
- Total savings: $5,947
- Taxable subtotal: $29,978
- Total price with 13 per cent HST: $33,875.14
2013 Toyota Sienna LE V6 AWD 7-passenger
- MSRP: $35,730
- Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,825
- Factory discount: $2,500 (cash purchases only)
- Unhaggle savings: $1,584
- Total savings: $4,084
- Taxable subtotal: $33,471
- Total price with 13 per cent HST: $37,822.23
2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- MSRP: $27,999
- Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,700
- Factory discount: $4,000 (cash purchases only)
- Unhaggle savings: $2,039
- Total savings: $6,039
- Taxable subtotal: $26,735.80
- Total price with 13 per cent HST: $23,888.20
- Note: 2.99 per cent financing for up to 84 months
2013 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5 CVT
- MSRP: $37,880
- Freight, PDI and Tradesman package: $1,855
- Factory discount: $2,000 (Manufacturer’s Incentive cash purchases only)
- Unhaggle savings: $2,119
- Total savings: $4,119
- Taxable subtotal: $35,616
- Total price with 13 per cent HST: $40,246.08
Pricing information source: www.unhaggle.com. 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.