Carmakers fire up rebates on 2009 models

With sales slowing, even brand-new models have incentives. CarsDirect.com showed us some of the best deals.

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Ford Flex
Price: $28,295 - $36,555
Fuel econ: 24 mpg Hwy, 17 mpg City

Usually, carmakers wait a while before issuing big rebates on a new model. But, with sales plummeting, they're already offering hefty incentives on some 2009 model year cars.

We asked Carsdirect.com auto pricing blogger Armaan Almeida to help us find some prime examples. Then we asked automotive data Website Edmunds.com to give us the sales and inventory numbers that show why these vehicles need the help.

Be aware that not all incentives will apply at all dealerships across the nation, and financing incentives are only available to customers with good credit.

The Ford Flex, Ford's new big crossover SUV, is probably the most surprising find on this list. It just came out a couple of months ago and Ford is already offering a $2,500 rebate.

it's not selling that badly yet. Brand new models usually sell well at first and the Flex has a lot going for it. At 24 miles per gallon, its fuel economy is remarkably good for a big SUV with an incredibly spacious interior. Basically, it offers all the benefits of a minivan without looking like an appliance.

In September, the measure of how long a vehicle on the lot goes unsold, was just 35 days, almost half the industry average.

But that's already 10 days more than it was in August. Ford and everyone else can see that sales of crossover SUVs are suffering. The problem is that people buying crossovers are usually trading in big, truck-based SUVs and the trade-in value of those has dropped precipitously. The rebate, a Ford spokesman explained, will hopefully make up the difference for those customers.



NEXT: Toyota Camry
Last updated October 17 2008: 3:51 PM ET
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