When analysts were expecting new-vehicle sales to crater by as much as 80 percent in April, automakers piled on 0 percent financing deals for up to 84 months, sending overall incentives to record levels. But with sales coming in stronger than expected — and further normalizing in early May — some automakers are pulling back on their best deals.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles went in strong on 0 percent for 84 months on certain models, including some Ram pickups, but pulled back in May to 72 months on its most-attractive financing offers. At Hyundai, some 0 percent/84-month financing deals also were reduced to 72 months in May. Other offers remained, but with first-payment deferrals cut to 90 days from 120 days.
While automakers have been able to juice demand with rock-bottom rates and first-payment deferrals, they now face the prospect of tight supply since the coronavirus caused factories to shut down. As plants restart and sales volume rises, automakers will find a balance of attracting buyers while managing their reduced inventories.