While the temperatures outside are getting colder, deals on new cars are getting hotter! As the year winds down, many dealerships are significantly lowering prices on 2011 inventory to make room for next year’s makes and models, while many credit unions are reducing their rates on auto loans and working with auto dealers to offer members exceptional discounts and incentives. Other credit unions are simply offering their consistent low rate for year-end auto financing and quality service to help members make their holiday auto wishes come true.
If you are planning to buy a vehicle during the holiday season, keep in mind that while automakers promote their “best deals of the year” during holiday time, with flashy ads and fanfare, the actual deals may not be as dazzling as all of the tinsel surrounding them. It is important to be wary of holiday sales, and keep your needs and bottom line in mind. For this reason, year-end auto rates and promotions offered by your credit union, perhaps in conjunction with local dealerships, may prove to be a more prudent choice than going it on your own amid the holiday hubbub of the auto world. With your credit union as a guide, you can count on their trusted advice, solid service, and affordable financing while often still taking advantage of the seasonal dealership discounts.
Just in time for the holidays and year-end deals, Freedom Credit Union (Warminster, PA) is offering its members big savings with their Multi-Dealer Car Sale. According to Rick MacLeod, Member Services Manager in Lending, now through December 31st, members can get a $200 gas card, a vehicle loan APR as low as 2.99% and special deals with participating dealerships.
“Freedom members will be able to take advantage of preferred pricing on new and used vehicles through the relationships that the credit union’s Vehicle Buying Advisors have established with local dealerships,” explains MacLeod. A Vehicle Buying Advisor is also available to help members find the car or truck they are looking for and get the best deal.
The credit union has basically done the legwork and its members will reap the rewards.
MacLeod says that Freedom has run this Multi-Dealer Car Sale for several years and members seem to respond positively, especially if they are in need of a new car. “This year we’ve issued 16 loans for $300k, which is in line with the last few years’ promotions that produced an average of 30 loans for $600k.”
According to Patelco Credit Union (Pleasanton, CA) CEO, Ken Burns, his credit union is also currently conducting a year-end auto promotion for its members, which features a two-month sale with 39 auto dealers signed up with CUDL as well as an interest rate discount. Launched on November 25, the promotion is expected to capture $1M or more in auto loans between now and the time it ends in late January.
“Following on the heels of Bank Transfer Day on November 5, this promotion serves as a good reminder to members and non-members alike that we are a great alternative to large banks and dealer financing,” says Burns. “We offer the same full-services as large banks, and often our interest rates are lower because of our not-for-profit status.”
Likewise, Eagle Community Credit Union (Lake Forest, CA) had a Pre-Owned Auto Sale on site at the beginning of November and had fantastic results, according to Emily Friesen, Vice President of Marketing. “We sold 26 autos and funded 21 loans, which averaged more than $20 thousand each, with an average loan rate of nearly five percent,” says Friesen.
Eagle had a three percent response rate to the mailing they did as measured by members who attended the sale. Friesen says that each mailing included a key that the member could bring to the sale with the chance of winning a new car. “They really seemed to enjoy the excitement that promotion helped create for the sale."
According to Susan Huss, Vice President of Lending, when you do an on-site auto sale, members feel a greater level of comfort — they trust the credit union’s judgment in the auto dealers they are bringing to them. She says that this sale was extra special because Eagle had not done one in eight years so there was a lot of pent up demand. “We worked so closely with the auto dealers and the promoter to build excitement with team incentives and member promotions," says Huss.
PSECU (Harrisburg, PA) is celebrating the end of 2011 with a recent auto rate reduction. According to Bill Zysk, Vice President of Credit Services, this was the second rate discount of the year to the credit union’s already super low auto rate. “Our auto rates dropped twice this year with the first cut in May when we lowered the 36 month APR to 1.49 % and the 60 month APR to 2.99% -- we decided to cut the 60 month rate again in October to 2.49%,” explains Zysk.
PSECU members have responded very well to the new rates, with the credit union seeing an increase of 30% in total loan volume from last year since the rate changes.
Zysk says that they believe their members know their products offer no gimmicks or small print. “They know they are getting a fair deal at a great rate and don’t have to worry about sticker shock down the line.”
Whether the car on your wish list is a new truck or SUV to navigate through the rest of the winter, a pre-owned compact car to help bring fuel costs down and save some money, or that luxury sedan you’ve been promising yourself, your credit union is the place to go. Check out your credit union’s newsletter, website, and social networking pages for details on year-end auto deals. With sensible financing options and the exceptional service that members rely on throughout the year, credit unions are the unofficial year-end auto headquarters. Why not let your credit union help you ring in the New Year with a new set of wheels!By Cyndi Cohen