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Incentives to buy new cars keep piling up

Posted by Cheryl Costa  May 29, 2009 10:31 AM

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The economy is still troubled and sales of new cars have stalled and are at all-time lows. But what is bad news for Detroit could be good news for the consumer. Now is perhaps one of the best times ever to be purchasing a new car. Dealers are very willing to deal and zero percent interest rates are back.

Dealers have also introduced innovative ways to deal with consumer's fears of losing their jobs. Many automakers are now offering programs that will cover your payments if you should lose your job after purchasing a new car. For example, the GM Total Confidence Plan will cover your loan or lease payment up to $500 per month for nine months if you lose your job. This plan is available for 2008, 2009 and 2010 model years. Ford has a similar program, known as the Ford Advantage plan, and this program will cover a car payment of up to $700 per month for up to one full year. This program expires June 1st and covers any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury. Finally, Hyundai has a program that will allow a buyer to return a newly purchased car and walk away from the payment without an adverse impact on the owner's credit.

In addition, earlier this year, a bill was passed that would allow consumers to deduct the sales tax they pay on a new vehicle purchase of up to $49,500. This deduction is phased out for single filers with modified adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 to $135,000 and married filers with modified adjusted gross incomes between $250,000 and $260,000.

And now, we appear to be just weeks away from the passage of the "Cash for Clunkers" bill which would offer a credit of up to $4,500 to people who trade in cars with relatively low fuel economy ratings (18 miles per gallon or less) for new cars with fuel economy ratings at least 4 miles per gallon better. Check out this website to find out the fuel economy rating of any car you might consider trading.

For people needing a new car, this is an unprecedented buying opportunity.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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