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Deals of the week: Ford Focus, Volvo C30, Acura RDX, Nissan Maxima

Need someone to take over the payments on your car? Owners might find an answer at FinanceBusters.com.

FinanceBusters? If the name has a familiar ring, it should. The new portal comes from the same people who have been running LeaseBusters.com since 1990. The finance site is here now reflecting a shift in the way Canadians are acquiring new vehicles.

That is, leasing has been on the decline in Canada for the past few years. The Power Information Network, which tracks real-time transactions at new vehicle dealership, reports that in 2010 leasing accounted for just 12.3 per cent of new vehicle sales for non-luxury nameplates. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of all non-luxury sales in 2010 were financed (64.4 per cent). The remaining are cash purchases.

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There have been periods in Canada where leasing accounted for a third or more of all new purchases - and more than 60 per cent in some provinces. The appeal of leasing, of course, is the lower monthly payment. Essentially, when you lease you pay rent on the value of the car you're driving for two, three or four years.

But now with low interest rates and generous incentives at play, Canadians have turned away from leasing in a big way. The result is a growing number of people who for one reason or another find themselves anxious to offload their financed vehicle and the payments that come with it.

The FinanceBusters people say that their experience with LeaseBusters gives them the know-how to re-package a consumer's current financed deal "to make it appealing to another purchaser." I have not tried this process myself, but I can see the appeal in some instances. In a release, Jim Matthews, general manager and owner of both Leasebusters and FinanceBusters, suggests the FinancesBusters portal might have particular appeal for owners who find themselves "upside down" with their vehicles.

"It's an unfortunate reality - people find themselves in a position where they will owe more for their vehicle than its market value at most points within their contractual obligation! With FinanceBusters, consumers will have an effective way to extricate themselves from prior financing arrangements that looked good back then but not so much now," he says in the release.

It is an interesting concept. One way to avoid ever needing FinanceBusters, however, is to get a great deal on a vehicle right out the chute. Here are four that we think stand out this week - any one of which, if a buyer takes advantage of all the incentive money, should result in a rock-solid value.

Deals obtained pricing information from www.carcostcanada.com, which in the interest of full disclosure is affiliated with LeaseBusters and FinanceBusters. Here's a look.

2010 Ford Focus S

MSRP: $14,999

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Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,450

Dealer discount (estimated): $200

Factory discount: $2,500 (factory-to-dealer)

Taxable subtotal: $13,749

Total price with 13% HST: $15,536.37

Factory discount: $1,000 (Recycle Your Ride)

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Government discount: $300 (Retire Your Ride)

Final price: $14,236.37

2011 Acura RDX

MSRP: $40,490

Freight, dealer prep: $1,995

Dealer discount: $1,500

Factory rebate: $2,500 (factory-to-dealer rebate)

Taxable subtotal: $38,485

Total price with 13% HST: $43,488.05

2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 V-6

MSRP: $39,450

Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,625

Dealer discount (estimated): $1,500

Factory discount: $5,000 (factory to dealer rebate)

Taxable subtotal: $34,575

Total price with 13% HST: $39,069.75

2011 Volvo C30 T5 manual

MSRP: $30,995

Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,195

Dealer discount (estimated): $1,000

Factory discount: $3,500 (factory-to-dealer rebate)

Taxable subtotal: $27,690

Total price with 13% HST: $31,289.70

Factory discount: $1,000 (Owner Loyalty)

Final price: $30,289.70

Pricing information source: www.carcostcanada.com. 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.

The Caped Crusader's car is the gold standard that all others try to measure up to when it comes to superhero rides

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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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