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Big Three Pump Up Prices While Selling Consumers on Rebates

April 10, 2002

The latest thing coming out of Detroit is the stealth price increase, according to the Wall Street Journal.In recent months, the Big Three automakers have begun tacking on increases, often in a series of small, hard-to-detect steps, even as they tout their latest deals, according to the Journal. Carmakers seem unabashed about the increases, which are designed to help offset the rebates and discounts that have stoked sales but also drained profits during the economic slowdown.The effect of all this is that a shining moment for car buyers -- the past six months, when rates were low and Detroit was desperate -- may be passing, the Journal says.After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, automakers flooded the market with generous offers like zero percent financing to stimulate sales. In response, buyers flocked to dealerships, pushing car and truck sales to an all-time high of 1,727,241 in October.Now, consumers who are bent on buying will need to focus even more closely than before on what they're actually getting for their money. That's likely to mean more haggling with the dealer, according to the Journal.
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