Can You Really Buy A New Chevy Trax For $12,000?

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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 - November 14, 2017

If you've been Black Friday shopping before, chances are you're no stranger to half-off sales. But are such discounts possible on a brand-new vehicle? One Michigan dealer happens to be offering something close to that.

For just over $12,000 before taxes & fees, the dealer will sell you a brand-new Chevy Trax. But is the offer really legit? A closer look reveals the answer lies buried in the jargon-laden fine print.

Here's a look at what's going on.

Offer Analysis

The listing question is for a 2017 Chevy Trax LS with all-wheel drive with an MSRP of $23,435. However, the advertised price is just $12,116.

That's about what you'd pay for the cheapest car in America, the Nissan Versa. The dealer has around 11 vehicles listed at this exact price.

But are there really $11,319 in discounts on the Trax right now? Yes and no.

Based on the listing and unadvertised bulletins, here's what's most likely being factored in to arrive at the bargain-basement price.

  • $3,500 Customer Cash
This is a national offer available everywhere. Although it's a big amount, it's rather typical for this model.
  • $750 Select Market Bonus Cash
This is a regional bonus available in a bunch of places like Michigan, California, Florida, Texas, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York, Phoenix, Washington D.C. and others.

So far, that's $4,250 in factory discounts available to everyone. A large amount, but fairly typical at this point in the model year when it comes to the Trax.
  • $1,500 GM Competitive Lease Bonus

To get this, you or someone in your household will have to currently be leasing a 2012 or newer non-GM vehicle. At this point, we've covered $5,750 in discounts.

  • Employee Pricing

Buried in the fine print, the dealer casually mentions that you'll have to qualify for GM Employee Pricing. Since the Trax isn't eligible for "Employee Pricing For All", you'll have to be an actual employee (or at least related to one).

The program website indicates the discount is worth about $1,500 on this vehicle, which means we've accounted for about $7,250 in discounts. Although that leaves $4,036 unaccounted for, we think we have a pretty good idea where that's coming from.

  • Flex Cash

So what the heck is Flex Cash? It's essentially an unadvertised dealer cash incentive that's based in part on how many vehicles the dealer has been able to sell. Dealers are able to stack up to $4,000 in Flex Cash so that they can offer more competitive pricing.

Although we don't know exactly how much the dealer is passing along, there's a good chance it's the full amount. Other models are also eligible for Flex Cash, which can sometimes help explain some of the more extreme variances in pricing when shopping different dealers.

Is It Legit?

Based on our analysis, it's indeed possible to achieve $11,000 in savings.

However, along with being a GM employee, leasing a non-GM vehicle and living in a region eligible for the additional bonus, you'll have to hope your local dealer is passing along the full Flex Cash amount.

That's a ton of hoops to have to jump through. But yes, it does appear to be possible to end up paying around $12,000 for a new Chevy Trax under the right circumstances.

Build & Price Your Chevy Trax »

, 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