In the car business, Labor Day is more than just the end of the summer selling season. It signals the beginning of what many bargain hunters eagerly await: the end-of-model-year clearance. In the eyes of these shoppers, the Labor Day holiday weekend sales time equals big-time savings. But as Edmunds data shows, this year's Labor Day weekend deals might not be as impressive as they were in the past.
Just five years ago, industry-wide incentives were deep, interest rates were low, and car sellers and makers alike seemed hot on moving then-current 2014 models to make room for the 2015s. Shoppers reaped the benefits of this car business sales strategy by way of the plentiful deals and significant offers. By the end of December 2014, only 24% of new vehicles sold were still 2014s.
But now the automotive climate has cooled. Carmakers aren't in the same rush to clear out current year inventory. For example, when 2018 came to a close, a much bigger chunk of vehicles of vehicles sold — 44% — were still 2018 models. Edmunds anticipates this trend of lingering vehicles to continue.
This seeming willingness of automakers to let vehicles linger on lots as opposed to liquidating inventory via end-of-summer clearances may put a damper on some shoppers' sales expectations.
Of course, it's not all bad news for a shopper hankering for a new vehicle. Interest rates, while higher than years past, are currently the lowest point they've been all year. Additionally, intriguing Labor Day deals still do exist, even if they aren't quite as prolific as in years past. Here are some notable examples. All starting prices include destination fees.
2019 Ford Fusion
Starting price: $23,835
Average discounts across all Edmunds listings: $3,614
Top range of discounts offers found on Titanium models: Up to $9,500
Lowest range of discount were found on the SE and SEL models.
What our editors say about the Fusion: "Ford's midsize sedan is a little dated but continues to earns points for its quiet interior, pleasing balance of handling and ride comfort, and available all-wheel drive."
2019 Hyundai Kona
Starting price: $21,085
Average discounts across all Edmunds listings: $1,462
Top range of discounts offers found on Ultimate models: Up to $5,300
Lowest range of discounts were found on the Iron Man and SE models.
What our editors say about the Kona: "This SUV is impressively sporty thanks to its quick acceleration and nimble handling. On top of that, you get a lot of technology and safety features for your money."
2019 Jeep Renegade
Starting price: $23,770
Average discounts across all Edmunds listing: $4,670
Top range of discounts found on Trailhawk, Limited and Altitude models: Up to $10,000
Lowest range of discounts were found on the Latitude and Sport models.
What our editors say about the Renegade: "The Jeep Renegade is the rare subcompact SUV that's genuinely capable off-road. Inside, the cabin is a little cramped, but it's nicely trimmed and has large touchscreen interface that is easy to use."
2019 Honda Pilot
Starting price: $32,645
Average discounts across all Edmunds listing: $1,144
Top range of discounts found on Touring, Elite and EX-L models: Up to $7,200
Lowest range of discounts were found on the LX and EX models.
What our editors say about the Pilot: "Even among its all-star midsize SUV rivals, the Pilot got high marks for its spacious interior, powerful and efficient V6 engine, and clever storage solutions."
2019 Volkswagen Atlas
Starting price: $31,890
Average discounts across all Edmunds listing: $4,425
Top range of discounts found on V6 SEL 4Motion, SE Tech and V6 SEL models: Up to $9,500
Lowest range of discounts were found on the S and V6 S 4Motion models.
What our editors say about the 2019 Atlas: "The Atlas is one of the roomiest three-row crossover SUVs around. Power is lacking a bit when you compare it to top rivals, but that's the one minor flaw we've been able to find in its on-road performance."
2019 Ford Expedition
Starting price: $53,525
Average discounts across all Edmunds listing: $6,645
Top range of discounts found on Platinum, XLT and Max Limited models: Up to $16,000
Lowest range of discounts were found on the Limited models.
What our editors say about the Expedition: "The Expedition is able to carry eight passengers and tow nearly as much as a full-size truck. And while it's certainly a large vehicle, there's very little else that can match the Expedition for outright capability."
EDMUNDS SAYS: This Labor Day holiday sale weekend may not be quite as robust as years past, but the deals are still plentiful, if you know where to look. Low interest rates are an added bonus.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Matt Jones is a senior insight manager at Edmunds. Twitter: @supermattjones
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Ford Fusion https://www.edmunds.com/ford/fusion/2019/
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona https://www.edmunds.com/hyundai/kona/
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Jeep Renegade https://www.edmunds.com/jeep/renegade/
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Honda Pilot https://www.edmunds.com/honda/pilot/2019/
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas https://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/atlas/
— Edmunds Review: 2019 Ford Expedition https://www.edmunds.com/ford/expedition/
— Edmunds: A Car Shopping Plan for Holiday Weekends http://edmu.in/2t3DE7X
— Video: How to Shop for a Car on a Holiday Weekend https://bit.ly/2Ie9wyB