Slow Luxury Car Sales Prompt Big Incentives

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2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

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The luxury car market hasn't traditionally had to tempt buyers with anything more than exclusivity, style and power. But with luxury car sales down nearly 32% this year, luxury carmakers are resorting to tactics traditionally reserved for the commodity car brands.

Cash back incentives, low-interest financing and even touting environmental friendliness are all ways of finding customers outside the typical luxury buyer base. Or in some cases, luring a luxury buyer out of shelter from the economic storm and into action.

BMW, for example, is offering interest rates as low as 1.9% on some new models, and has been focusing more heavily on its certified pre-owned program as well. BMW is also one of the carmakers most concerned with offering a green image, touting its availability of diesels and preparing to introduce its first pair of hybrids to the U.S. in the form of the ActiveHybrid X6 and 7-series.

Bentley is also offering very low financing rates--as low as 0.9%--on the $179,000 Continental GT. Porsche is likewise offering deals, but in the form of cash back. Average cash incentives on newly-purchased Porsches for the year through August were $4,412, a rise of 657% from last year, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Even Mercedes-Benz is offering low 1.9-2.9% rates and special lease pricing on some of its vehicles, notably the C-Class Sedan, CLK-Class cabrio and CLS-Class four-door coupe. Mercedes is no stranger to diesel or hybrid vehicles either, recently introducing the S400 hybrid sedan to the U.S. to help win eco-conscious buyers that still want a luxury image. The S400 hybrid is, incidentally, the most affordable S-Class as well.

The bottom line to all this? If you're in the market, now's a great time to buy. With forecasted slow but steady rises in vehicle sales throughout 2010, these deals will slowly fade away, but in the mean time, there are serious savings to be had.

[Detroit Free Press]

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