Now that the 2015 Canadian International AutoShow is almost over, this is a great time to buy (or lease) that dream car or truck.
During the AutoShow, many automakers introduce aggressive lease and finance incentives on select models, and many of those incentives have been carried over for a limited time, for shoppers who are prepared to buy now.
We frequently hear how busy the spring market is in the retail car industry, and it is. But the week following the AutoShow can be just as brisk in terms of showroom activity and new car sales.
That's because car shoppers have narrowed their choices during the AutoShow and want to take advantage of the great incentives and programs that are available.
For many consumers, the AutoShow is the start of the car buying journey. There is no better place to compare models, side by side, and view the diversity of styles, features, accessories and technologies, all under one roof.
At an early stage of the car buying process, it's important to understand your driving needs and budget. Ask yourself: Will you drive in excess of 30,000 kms per year? Do you require additional seats or cargo space to accommodate the needs of a growing family? Will you do off-road driving? What can I comfortably afford to spend per month?
These sorts of questions will influence the type of vehicle you buy and your decision to buy or lease. There are pros and cons with both options and consumers need to understand their driving requirements and finances before making a decision.
Many buyers attracted to monthly payments these days, but be careful here. Manufacturers will subsidize monthly payments on lease and finance deals to drive the market, and so it's important to consider all of the details of the offer you're looking at.
Generally, a closed-end, factory-backed lease is my preferred option for those who drive up to 30,000 kms per year. A closed-end lease allows drivers to put on a specified number of kilometres over three or four years and return the vehicle after the lease term has expired. Plus, there should be no major repairs during this period, and the vehicle is under factory warranty for most of the lease.
Lease payments are typically lower than loan payments because you're paying only for the vehicle's depreciation during the lease term, plus interest charges, taxes, and fees.
For those who drive more than 30,000 kms per year, on average, the preferred buying option is financing. If you finance a vehicle over five to seven years, you want to research things like fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, monthly payments and resale value.
At the end of the finance period, you will own the vehicle outright; the vehicle is paid in full and you have built equity to help pay for your next vehicle. But long-term finance arrangements should be researched carefully- they can be a financial burden if you're not careful.
Once you've decided to buy or lease, the next stage in the buying process is choosing a dealership. My recommendation would be to find out what your local dealership has to offer (shuttle service? drive-thru bays? loaner vehicles? comfortable lounge?) Visiting a dealership in person will reveal a lot about its culture, amenities and commitment to customer service.
After deciding on a dealership, it's time to choose a brand specialist. Visit dealership websites and view profiles on brand specialists - there you likely will find someone who shares yours interests and then contact him/her.
Once you're narrowed your vehicle choices, selected a dealership and a brand specialist, it will be time to your purchase or lease your dream car or truck.
With so many AutoShow incentives on the table that will end shortly, you're sure to get an exceptional deal.