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Deals of the week: Always read the fine print

2011 Nissan Pathfinder


Toyota Canada is driving sales with some excellent offers, though as with any deal, make sure you read the fine print.

In the case of the 2011 Toyota Matrix, note that $3,250 in factory-to-consumer incentives are applied to the after tax amount. This means you make your best deal, including whatever dealer discount you can negotiate, and after the tax is calculated – 13 per cent HST in Ontario, for instance – then the rebate comes into play.

The long and short of it is this: after-tax rebates are not as rich as before-tax ones because of the tax issue. Make no mistake, tax is a HUUUUUGE issue with the purchase of any new car.

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Aside from the usual Air Conditioning Tax and other fees, the HST on a decently equipped Matrix with automatic transmission comes to $2,442.70 or thereabouts depending on several factors. If Toyota Canada's $3,250 in discounts applied to the before-tax amount, your tax would be $2,020.20, for a difference of $422.50. When and how the deal applies as it relates to taxation are true dollars-and-cents issues and not small ones.

Which brings us to the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder SUV. Now if you can find a 2011 Pathfinder kicking about – no guarantees, of course, because 2012s are out there now – Nissan has a $6,500 factory-to-dealer cash rebate in effect and it should apply to the before-tax amount.

Ford of Canada has a mix of before- and after-tax sales sweeteners offered on the 2012 Ford Fusion. The $3,500 73-Month Term Finance Delivery Allowance is a before-tax factory-to-dealer offer that can be combined with a before-tax $500 Delivery Allowance and an after-tax $1,000 Costco rebate. Ford is increasing the offers on the current Fusion in anticipation of the arrival of an all-new 2013 Fusion.

Finally, Honda has a new Accord coming later this year, thus the current version is also on offer to push existing cars out the dealer door. A $1,000 factory offer is available now and it should be possible to combine that with, say, $1,000 in a dealer discount.

As usual, Deals of the Week obtained pricing information from, among other sources Here are the numbers.

2012 Ford Fusion SEL AWD

  • MSRP: $31,499
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,600
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,100
  • Factory discount: $500 (The Choice is Yours factory-to-dealer rebate (stars Jan 16))
  • Factory discount: $3,500 (73-Month Finance factory-to-dealer rebate (starts Jan 16.))
  • Taxable subtotal: $27,999
  • Total price with 13% HST: $31,638.87
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (Costco factory-to-customer rebate)
  • Final price: $30,638.87
  • Note: 0.0% finance rates for up to 72 months

2012 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan

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  • MSRP: $29,790
  • Freight, air conditioning tax and dealer prep: $1,650
  • Dealer discount: $1,000
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (Non-stackable Trading Dollars factory-to-dealer rebate
  • Taxable subtotal: $29,440
  • Total price with 13% HST: $33,267.20

2011 Nissan Pathfinder LE

  • MSRP: $47,748
  • Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax and Green Levy: $1,720
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,000
  • Factory discount: $6,500 (2011 Model Year-End Cash Rebate)
  • Taxable subtotal: $40,968
  • Total price with 13% HST: $46,293.84

2011 Toyota Matrix automatic

  • MSRP: $17,725
  • Freight, dealer prep: $1,565
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $500
  • Taxable subtotal: $18,790
  • Total price with 13% HST: $21,232.70
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (Non-stackable Cash Discount factory-to-consumer rebate)
  • Factory discount: $2,250 (Consumer Cash factory-to-dealer rebate)
  • Final price: $17,982.70

Pricing information source: Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Dealer discounts are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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