June Auto Sales Slump: More New Deals Likely

Falling consumer confidence that's been battering the stock market has now stalled auto sales, too. After a spring surge, U.S. auto sales in June dropped about 11% below the May level-although still 14% above June 2009. So if you are among the lucky shoppers not worried about your job, some enticing new-car deals may lie ahead.

Strong spring sales reduced dealers' inventory and caused some auto makers to pull back on their rebates and financing deals, contributing to the downturn in June. (See Grab These Car Deals While You Can.) But sputtering sales could reverse that trend. "If slow sales continue in July and beyond, you could see expanded incentives on 2010 and 2011 model years, " says Jeff Schuster, executive director of forecasting for J.D. Power and Associates. (The 2011 model year officially begins Oct. 1, but some 2011s-such as the Toyota Sienna and the redesigned Ford Mustang-already are on sale.)

There are still some good deals on 2010s, though. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have kept up rebates on selected models. (See them in Great Cars Made in America: U.S. Companies.) And Honda is continuing several of its attractive lease deals. Here is a look at three 2010 models--a Chevy, a Ford and a Hyundai--currently offering deals worth considering because redesigned 2011 versions are on sale or soon will be:

Chevrolet Silverado---The 2010 Silverado was the top-ranked pickup among reviewers scanned by U.S. News. "Let's just agree that a perfect pickup is hard to find, and we'll drive the Silverado until we find it," said Car and Driver. At 15 mpg city and 20 highway, the Silverado's mileage ratings are about average for large pickups. The Silverado 1500 regular cab with typical options is selling for an average of $17,954-or $5,230 below list price, including the whopping $4,500 rebate, according to Edmunds.com.

Ford Edge-Ford's mid-size SUV gets praise from reviewers for its appealing styling, comfortable ride and a rear seat that folds down to haul more cargo. But the mileage rating of 18 mpg city, 25 highway is just in the middle of this mileage-conscious segment. The 2010 Edge SE version is selling for an average of $25,233, according to Edmunds. That price covers typical options, including the SYNC system that lets you give voice commands to make phone calls or play music and takes in $3,000 in rebates. Ford also is offering 0% financing for up to four years for buyers with good credit.

Hyundai Sonata-Hyundai is one of the companies that has gained most in sales during the spring upturn, but it continues with promotional prices for the 2010 Sonata because the 2011 is also on sale. Reviewers praised the 2010 for its value, many standard features and the 10-year, 100,000-mile power train warranty pioneered by Hyundai. The 2011 is a much sportier, edgier design selling closer to list price. But if value and savings are your focus (mileage is 22 city, 32 highway), the 2010 Sonata GLS is selling for an average $17,589 with typical options and including a $2,500 rebate, according to Edmunds. That's $3,680 below list price. Instead of the rebate, you could opt for 0% financing for up to five years.

Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

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