Guide to Military Discounts on New Cars

By

Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - May 20, 2016

What better way to be told "thank you for your service" than with a special military discount on your next car? To honor those in active duty, and even veterans and retirees, automakers have a slew of special deals available to help get you into a new car.

However, offers can differ greatly and encompass a wide range of individuals. So what should you expect with different programs? What are some of the best military discounts right now? And how often do they change?

Here's what you need to know.

How to get military discounts

If you're active duty military, it's generally a straightforward process for obtaining military discounts. In some cases, you'll be eligible for a flat rebate on top of current offers.

For example, Ford offers a set cash bonus in addition to current offers. Others, like Toyota, offer a rebate with the caveat that it must be applied toward a finance or lease contract.

In the case of GM, shoppers get special access to GM Supplier Pricing worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars off MSRP depending on the model. To get it, shoppers build a car through the program website in order to generate an authorization code that can be taken to participating dealers.

To be eligible for military discounts, shoppers generally need to be affiliated with any of the following branches: U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, plus the National Guard and Reserve. The scope can vary for each automaker, so be sure to check.

Programs can even sometimes be applied to veterans and retirees. For example, through May 31, GM expanded its program to all veterans. As an added bonus, discounts can sometimes be extended to spouses or even members of the same household.

Here are some of our favorite military discounts.

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General Motors Military Discount

Key highlights: GM Supplier Pricing in addition to current incentives

What you should know: Through May 31, GM has expanded the program to veterans and spouses. Most models are eligible. Notable exclusions are all Cadillac vehicles and most "L" or "1SV" base trims.

Who's eligible: Active military, reservists, veterans, retirees

Additional info: Spouses are also eligible

Expiration: May 31, 2016

Featured deal: Over $3,500 off MSRP on the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse 1LS (Supplier Pricing - $1,250 cash, $500 bonus and $750 regional bonus).

Shop Chevrolet models »

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Ford Military Appreciation Bonus Cash

Key highlights: $500 military bonus in addition to current incentives

What you should know: From May 20, Ford is boosting the benefit to $750 until July 5

Who's eligible: Active military, reservists, veterans (within 180 days of separation), retirees

Additional info: Spouses and surviving spouses, as well as other household members are also eligible

Expiration: July 5, 2016

Featured deal: Up to $3,200 in offers on 2016 Ford Explorer ($1,450 cash + $1,000 Smart Bonus Cash + $750 military appreciation) through May 31. All before dealer discounts.

Shop Ford models »

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Toyota Military Rebate

Key highlights: $500 military bonus in addition to current incentives

What you should know: Requires taking out a loan or lease through Toyota Financial

Who's eligible: Active military and reservists. Retirees and veterans are also eligible, but only within 1 year of retirement or discharge.

Additional info: Spouses and other household members are also eligible

Expiration: July 5, 2016

Featured deal: Up to $2,500 in offers on 2016 Toyota Camry ($2,000 cash + $500 military rebate + financing at non-promotional APR rates). All before dealer discounts.

Shop Toyota models »

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How often do military discounts change?

It's generally safe to think of most military discounts as "ongoing". However, there can be notable improvements around major holidays such as Memorial Day.

For example, Hyundai doubled its military discount from $500 to $1,000 between May 20 to May 31. Starting May 20, Ford added an extra $250, increasing its discount to $750 for military and first responders.

Since rules and amounts can change, be sure to check program terms carefully. Together with advertised offers, the combined savings could save you serious money.

For more pricing insights, visit our Deals Page »

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For an easy way to find the best deals, visit the CarsDirect Deals Page for the latest deal-related news and analyses. Browse expert buying advice updated monthly on nearly 300 models for insider insights you'll only find at CarsDirect. Be sure to sign up for email alerts to have the latest deals delivered straight to your inbox.

Offers listed here are based on a resident in Southern California and may be subject to change. Most lease offers are for well-qualified buyers based on available credit and exclude tax, license, title, registration, document fees and insurance. Not all buyers may qualify. Please check with your CarsDirect Trusted Dealer to confirm details and eligibility.

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website