When a Deal Isn't Really a Deal: Chrysler's Memorial Day Bonus Reviewed

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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 - May 19, 2015

Memorial Day can be a great time to buy a car. Automakers like Hyundai and BMW have all sorts of special offers this month. In typical fashion, Fiat Chrysler has a holiday bonus for shoppers. But don't get too excited- at the same time, the automaker cut standard rebates. Here's what you need to know.

Deal overview

Today Fiat Chrysler announced a $500 Memorial Day bonus incentive on select models. Cars that get the discount include: Dodge Charger and Grand Caravan, Jeep Compass and Patriot, Chrysler Town & Country, and the FIAT 500 hatchback.

But what shoppers may not know is that the automaker cut other cash incentives by $500 on those models, creating no advantage in buying this weekend compared with last weekend.

Are holidays a good time to buy?>>

Where the deals are

Don't get us wrong- Fiat Chrysler has some outstanding deals. But you don't need to wait until the holiday to get them. For example, deals on popular models like the Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee have been particularly attractive.

This month, the 200 has up to $4,500 in available incentives. If you prefer to lease, you may want to wait- the automaker increased the lease term to 42 months in May. The lease also requires $2,999 at signing, quite high compared with competitors.

The Jeep Cherokee is another top pick, with up to $3,500 in discounts. Again, the lease deal isn't particularly impressive- we still consider the monthly payment of $239 and $2,999 due at signing on the Latitude 4x2 to be quite expensive.

Confirm your discounts on the Jeep Cherokee>>

Our take

In an earlier article, we covered some the tactics automakers use to appeal to shoppers around holidays. Fancy-sounding promotions may have psychological appeal, but it's important for shoppers to look at the total savings amount before making a conclusion. You may just find that the deal isn't so much of a deal after all.

See our top Memorial Day Deal picks>>

Incentives listed here are based on a resident in Southern California. Lease offers are based on top-tier credit and exclude tax, license, title, registration, document fees and insurance. State-level incentives can vary, so please check with your CarsDirect Trusted Dealer to confirm all available offers in your region.

Visit our CarsDirect Pricing Insider page for pricing and deal analyses for over 300 models. Sign up for email alerts to have our analyses delivered straight to your inbox. Browse our Deals Articles for insider info on the latest new car incentives that can save you money.

, 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