The phrase Black Friday conjures up images of crowds thronging big-box retail stores, and for good reason. But when you think of the low-price deals available this Friday, don't forget those big-ticket items on four wheels.
Some of the day's hottest bargains will be found on the auto mile, not at the mall, say automotive experts.
“Dealerships offer significant discounts on Black Friday, which can save consumers thousands off the purchase of a new vehicle,” says Jesse Toprak of the car-shopping website TrueCar.com in a report on the deals. “It’s an atypical day to purchase a car since consumers think of retail shopping, but buying a new vehicle on Black Friday can often lead to big savings.”
The website says it's the best day of the year to bargain for a lower new-car price, and that the rest of Thanksgiving weekend also offers good buying opportunities.
Consumer Reports published a list of new cars, from its "recommended" list, with deals this weekend of 15 to 20 percent off the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP).
Its list includes a broad range of mainstream 2011 models: the Toyota Camry, Ford F-150 pickups, Cadillac DTS, Honda Pilot, Nissan Frontier and Maxima, and a number of Chevrolets (Malibu, Traverse, Suburban, and Corvette). A few 2012 models are also on the list, including the Ford Mustang and Chevy Avalanche.
Consumer Reports says that if consumers can grab these discounts, they'll be doing much better than the roughly 6 percent discount off MSRP that's typical this year. Liza Barth of the consumer information firm adds that regional discounts sometimes add to the Black Friday savings by as much as $5,000, and "there are bonus incentives for returning customers and military personnel available on many models."
Among the dealerships promoting Black Friday discounts is Brickell Honda in Miami.
"While we can’t unveil the fantastic sales just yet, we can let our shoppers know about a $500 Visa gift card opportunity!," the dealership said in an online posting Monday.
At this dealer and others, low-interest financing is another lure for car shoppers.
TrueCar, which offers information on car prices designed to help buyers, is offering its own holiday-season promotion: a $25,000 giveaway on Nov. 28 and weekly $5,000 prizes open to car buyers who purchase from a TrueCar Certified Dealer.
Of course, not everyone wants to mobilize to sign papers for a new car on the day after Thanksgiving. But if a car is on your shopping list, it might beat jostling with the crowds at Wal-Mart.