Edmunds: The Four Best Auto Deals for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is often considered to be the kick-start to summer and, for car shoppers looking for the best finance and lease deals, a great opportunity to take advantage of a marketplace finally returning to normalcy

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Memorial Day weekend is often considered to be the kick-start to summer and, for car shoppers looking for the best finance and lease deals, a great opportunity to take advantage of a marketplace finally returning to normalcy.

“It’s time for car shoppers to dust off their old, pre-pandemic playbooks because automakers are falling back into familiar traps of aging inventory and prevalent discounting,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ director of insights.

But shoppers need to know where to look to find these deals. Edmunds experts offer their recommendations on how to get the best car, truck and SUV savings this weekend and throughout the summer.

LEASE AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE

More and more electric vehicles are coming to market, but this increase hasn’t perfectly synced with consumer demand. Some automakers are adjusting their pricing downward to compensate. That’s good news if you’re interested in an EV.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, for certain versions of the 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning, for example, are $2,500 to $5,500 less than before. Or consider the 2024 Nissan Ariya SUV. Nissan dropped its price by up to $6,000 compared to the 2023 model.

For more skeptical EV customers, leasing could be an ideal way to see if going electric fits their driving needs because there’s less of a long-term commitment. Edmunds’ sales data shows the average monthly lease price for a 2024 model year EV is down more than 30% compared to last year

“If you’re lucky enough to be in the EV market, leasing an EV is really where customers could stand to benefit,” Drury says. “The combination of MSRP reductions, EVs lingering on dealer lots, and the potential federal tax credit work-around allows the automakers to heavily discount their product.”

PAY MORE TO SAVE MORE

A number of more expensive models — particularly aging models that have not had any recent updates — are showing the biggest year-to-year price drops.

For example, the recent average transaction price of vehicles costing $30,000 to $40,000 was 2.6% less than the MSRP, or about $900 off. But vehicles costing $60,000 to $70,000 were bought at an even bigger discount: 4.4%, or $2,850 off.

Not everyone can afford big-ticket models, of course. But this $60K-$70K range was the sweet spot of Edmunds’ analysis where shoppers seemingly had the best advantage in negotiating a lower price.

CONSIDER BUYING A 2023 MODEL

While a few 2024 EVs cost less than before, the more typical value pick is still in play: a vehicle that’s showroom fresh but is leftover from the previous model year. It’s another way to save money because a dealer will be keen on selling it to make room for newer inventory. Last month, approximately one in 12 vehicles for sale was a 2023 model, according to inventory listed on Edmunds.

You can do research and search online to locate remaining 2023 models and also find out what changed for 2024. If the 2024 model isn’t substantially different, you can pick up what is essentially the same vehicle at a big discount.

While the autumn of a given year has routinely marked this changeover, automakers have become increasingly fluid in terms of when one model year supersedes the next. For example, 2025 Honda Pilots and 2025 Toyota Camrys are already arriving at dealerships, meaning the 2024 vehicles could already be a viable option for a discounted purchase.

LOOK FOR LOW APR FINANCE DEALS

Interest rates are high but it’s possible to find automaker financing offers with attractive annual percentage rates. For example, Chevrolet is currently offering 1.9% financing on many of its vehicles, along with bonus cash offers, for well-qualified buyers.

A vehicle’s model year also has an influence on its annual percentage rate, something that can have a big impact on financing and monthly payments. “Nearly 40% of customers who financed a 2023 vehicle in April got less than 4% APR, while the industry average is a hair above 7%,” Drury says.

EDMUNDS SAYS

Sales data shows the pendulum for automobile sales is swinging back to pre-pandemic normalcy. However, as always, finding the best deals requires smart research and a little legwork.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Nick Kurczewski is a contributor at Edmunds.