now how much would you pay?

{note: this event actually happened in 11/08 and just took awhile for meme to make its way to me -- i posted it on 2/27/09, but moved it back to a better chronological place}

this was sent to me by my brother and isn't mine ... it probably holds a
© for someone like US news and world report ... provided here for
entertainment value only.


We've been waiting for this. The crash of the automotive market has led to some aggressive incentives, but we hadn't yet seen the madness in the U.S. that led British dealers to offer buy-one-get-one-free deals on Dodge Avengers.

But a dealer in Oak Lawn, Ill. has brought the crazy here at last.

Chicago Breaking News reports, "An Oak Lawn car dealership has started a new and unusual promotion: Buy one 2008 Chrysler Pacifica and get a second car, a 2008 PT Cruiser, for $1." The deal only applies to the five Pacificas currently sitting on the lot at Mancari's Chrysler Jeep of Oak Lawn. Once those five are gone, the deal is gone. The Pacificas in stock are "priced at $37,000 to $40,000," but buyers willing to pay those prices can also claim a slightly-used PT Cruiser demo car for $1.

Kicking Tires explains, "The PT Cruisers are former rental vehicles with about 10,000 miles on them. They normally retail for $12,000 to $13,000."

Autoblog, however, comments, "We bet more than one person will walk in and tell the dealer he can keep his PT Cruiser, they'll take the Pacifica with a $15,000 discount instead."

But why would a dealer offer something like this?

Because it costs him money not to sell the cars, and the Pacificas simply aren't going to leave the lot without a major incentive. Car dealers don't pay cash to buy cars from manufacturers - instead, they take out what is known as a "floorplan loan" on each new car they order from the automaker. They pay off that loan with whatever you pay them for the car, then pocket the difference.

But CNN Money explains, "Floorplan loans become burdensome the longer cars go unsold. For the first three months a car is in inventory, interest on the floorplan loan is usually reimbursed by the manufacturer. Later, if a vehicle is still there after about six months, finance companies can start demanding payment on the principal on the loan. As credit markets have tightened," the banks that provide floorplan loans "have raised interest rates and what are called 'curtailment' costs, the cost of having vehicles in inventory for a long time."

Pacifica sales were down more than 90% in October compared to October of last year, and the average Pacifica is now sitting on a dealer's lot for more than 250 days before it sells. The cars are costing Chrysler dealers more than they're worth just to keep on the lot. It's possible that, as auto sales continue to slide and bankruptcy threatens major automakers, more crazy deals will appear. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, research the best car deals for November with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews.

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