SOURCE: TrueCar

TrueCar

March 15, 2010 08:58 ET

TrueCar.com Releases March TrueTrends™ Report

As Spring Approaches, Discounts and Great Deals Remain in Bloom

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) - Spring generally signals the official opening of the new car buying season. With better weather and amazing discounts from dealers and generous incentives being offered by most manufacturers, TrueCar (www.truecar.com), the authority for new car pricing on the Internet, thinks this might be the best spring in a very long time for buying a car. And the March TrueTrends by TrueCar Report provides a lot of useful information for those wanting to partake in the Spring car buying experience.

The monthly report includes TrueCar's unique Price Flex Score, as well as best deals by Total Incentives, Greatest Percentage below MSRP, Greatest Price Drops and Days in Inventory. And, as always, the report includes TrueCar's Best and Worst Days of the Month to buy a car.

The March TrueTrends Report -- which can be found in its entirety at TrueCar.com -- includes the following highlights:

-- Ford, as a brand, has the highest overall discount from MSRP at 13%. It is worth noting that Mercury is 4th on that list at 10% while Chrysler and Jeep are 3rd and 5th at 11 and 10% respectively. Hyundai was the only non-domestic brand to make the top 5 highest discount list, at 2.

-- The best day to buy a car in the period between March 16 and April 15 is Monday, April 12. It is the last Monday before Tax Day and consumers can expect an average 6.7% discount. Conversely, the projected lowest discount day of that period is -- not surprisingly -- Sunday, April 4, Easter Sunday.

-- Many of the luxury brands are offering generous deals on special leases and manufacturer to dealer incentives, making now a great time to look into a luxury vehicle purchase. Volvo, BMW and Lexus are aggressively discounting multiple models.

-- With the long winter coming to an end, it might be time to polish off that dream of owning a convertible. According to TrueCar.com's research, convertibles -- of all body types -- have spent the longest time in inventory for dealers. With some drop tops sitting on lots for more than 100 days, a great deal can't be far away.

"Toyota's aggressive programs in March triggered a small scale incentive battle," said Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry, Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com. "This competition resulted in great deals for consumers. And even though the overall incentive levels are lower than several years ago and there is less excessive inventory, we are still able to identify some outstanding opportunities for smart shoppers."

TrueCar Price Flex Score, Greatest Discounts and Days in Inventory

TrueCar uses several methods to identify the best new car deals of the month. Not only does TrueCar track vehicles with the greatest discounts, but the TrueCar Price Flex Score measures how elastic the transaction price is for a particular model. A high Flex Score means a possibility of a great swing (high or low) in the price, from MSRP, while a low Flex Score means the price is far less negotiable and that the transaction price range is much narrower. This report also tracks the average Days in Inventory by make/model and body type. The longer a vehicle is in inventory, the more likely a dealer is willing to offer a discount. The report alerts consumers to information on all of these categories, providing an additional layer of information beyond just the average prices so they can get the best deals possible.

2010 Most Flexible Vehicles         Top 2010 Greatest Discounted Models
Make       Model           Score     Make        Model         % Below MSRP
Mazda      Tribute            99     Hyundai     Sonata           18%
Mazda      RX-8               99     Jeep        Grand Cherokee   18%
Lexus      HS 250h            99     Ford        Ranger           17%
Chevrolet  Express Cargo Van  98     Jeep        Commander        17%
Mazda      MX-5 Miata         98     Chevrolet   Cobalt           16%

        2010 Vehicles:                          2010 Vehicles:
  Shortest Days in Inventory               Longest Days in Inventory
Rank    Make Model         Days in Inv   Rank    Make Model     Days in Inv
1       Mercedes Benz GL550     10       1     Hyundai Sonata      108
2       BMW 335d                10       2     Kia Forte            94
3       Chevrolet Equinox       11       3     Ford Mustang         93
4       BMW X6                  11       4     Chevrolet Malibu     89
5       GMC Terrain             12       5     Dodge Grand Caravan  89

The TrueCar's Price Report is based on the idea that price goes far beyond averages. To see the full picture, you need to know the context, which TrueCar offers by presenting the price buyers actually pay for vehicles. The report is based on data for more than 43% of all individual US retail transactions per month from dozens of proprietary and third party sources offering TrueCar Price Reports on more than 84% of all new cars at the local level, as well as information on dealer and consumer incentive trends.

About TrueCar

TrueCar (http://www.truecar.com/) is the authority in new car prices. TrueCar analyzes data from thousands of sources to show car buyers and car dealers how much people actually paid for a particular car in a specific local area. The innovative new car pricing service is offered online, free of charge at TrueCar.com. With TrueCar pricing, both new car buyers and new car dealers can know at any time what is considered a good or great price on a new car. Consumers no longer need to walk into a dealership partially informed and fully suspicious -- using TrueCar they walk in knowing the price of a fair deal. Dealers benefit by TrueCar's real-time, unbiased information about marketplace pricing, helping them price cars for increased sales, and ultimately gaining market share over other dealers. Led by a highly experienced team from the automotive and technology industries, TrueCar is based in Santa Monica, California.

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