GM, Ford Sales Slump Puts Buyers in Driver’s Seat

GM, Ford Sales Slump Puts Buyers in Driver’s Seat

By Alexis Leondis and Philipp Schlaeger

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) — John Bruno, president of a car dealership in midtown Manhattan, said he would do anything to sell a car, including slashing prices by at least 10 percent on various models.

“If they want to buy a car, they are going to leave with a car,” said Bruno, whose Potamkin dealership sells Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Saab, Hummer and GMC vehicles.

Automakers are offering incentives to consumers, such as lower prices and 0 percent financing to combat slumping sales. A buyer with a credit score of at least 700, or cash, will find the environment ideal for negotiating, industry analysts say.

Sales of new cars and trucks in the U.S. are projected to decrease 12 percent this year compared with a year earlier, according to the McLean, Virginia-based National Automobile Dealers Association.

“Dealers are hungry and manufacturers are hungry, so if your credit score is above 700, you can drive a pretty good deal,” said Terry Jackson, consumer auto columnist at Bankrate.com. “If you’re below 700 however, you might get a usurious loan.”

Toyota Motor Corp. is offering no-interest loans on more than half of its models, including the 2008 4Runner, 2009 Camry and 2009 Corolla. Chrysler LLC promises up to $6,000 cash back on a 2008 300C. General Motors Corp. began its annual “Red Tag” sale almost 10 days early this year. The year-end promotion will offer savings such as $4,500 for a 2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer to as much as $10,000 for a 2008 Cadillac Escalade, among others.

December Promotion

At Lexus of Manhattan, the “December to Remember” promotion began this month and applies to four models — the ES350, IS250, GS350 and RX350 — said Michael Pecorella, a sales manager. A customer who leases an RX350 for 36 months can get 0.9 percent APR and pay $399 a month instead of $508. more

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