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If you've ever seen or heard a car ad, you've probably heard these terms. It can be a little confusing to figure out what is what. Plus, you may wonder if rebates or bonus cash are even "real".  Well, I can assure you that customer factory rebates and bonus cash are very real and if you are considering purchasing a vehicle, you should definitely take them into account.
 
A customer rebate is a special incentive offered by the manufacturer to the consumer through the dealer. It is basically a discount amount that can be used to lower the purchase price of the car. The manufacturers determine which models will have rebates at any given time, and how much the rebate amount will be. Rebates can vary but are typically between $500 and $2000, and are only applicable during the period specified by the manufacturer. 
 
The way this works is that the manufacturers inform the dealerships which models will have a rebate and the amount, typically on a monthly basis. That information is clearly disclosed and passed along from the dealership to the consumer when computing the selling price. 
 
Factory Bonus Cash is similar in that it is a special incentive offered by the manufacturer during a specified time period which provides an additional cash discount on the purchase of the specified vehicle. 
 
APR refers to the Annual Percentage Rate. This is the interest rate you would have on the financed portion of your purchase. Some manufacturers will offer special APRs such as 0% during specified time periods on specific models. You must be able to qualify for these based on your credit score, and finance through the manufacturer's finance division.
 
There are no requirements to meet in order to receive a customer factory rebate, except in special circumstances such as College Grad Rebates or Military rebates that require you to meet certain criteria. Take note that some rebates may be "in lieu of" other incentives, such as special APR financing. So if you choose to use the factory rebate, you may not be able to get the special APR, or vice versa.  In that case you would choose which one you feel is best for your situation.  However, some manufacturers will on occasion offer BOTH the rebate AND the special APR. So be sure you notice that distinction.
 
One other note, rebates are not to be confused with "discounts".  The discount amount is what the dealership chooses to offer at their discretion over and above the factory rebate. These are not controlled or determined by the factory and can make a big difference in the price you will pay for your vehicle, so they are a consideration when choosing which dealership you will purchase from.  
 
In summary, customer factory rebates and bonus cash are true incentives and a valuable way for you to get a price reduction on a specified vehicle. And special low APR finance rates can have a big impact on your monthly payment.  Just keep in mind that the amount and which models have these incentives will change, and they have limited availability, so pay attention to the time frame so you don't miss out.
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