What a difference a year makes. Two years ago, we said Memorial Day weekend opened car-shopping season sure as the buds spring. You know how that looked 12 months ago. Now, a year on from that, we’re in an odd limbo between those two extremes, thanks not just to the COVID-19 pandemic but also an ongoing microchip shortage. In short, cars are hard to come by — which means deals are, too.
One reliable indication of the demand on new-vehicle sales comes from J.D. Power, which said in late April that it expected transaction prices to reach an all-time monthly record. It also projected incentives to be down 36% versus April 2020 and 11% versus April 2019. We’ve seen similar trends in compiling May’s best deals overall, too.
Still, there’s hope for shoppers. For the list below, we went through the 10 bestselling nameplates in the U.S. through the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to research deals on vehicles where inventory is more likely to be available (or even abundant). They may not look great on paper, but them’s the times — for this year, anyway. Read on for the details.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
- Factory discount: $4,000
- Approximate price after discounts: $31,500 to $72,000
- Approximate factory savings: 5-11%
- Offer ends: June 1
Chevrolet’s Silverado pickup truck was long the main opposition to the Ford F-Series in vehicle sales, but thus far this year, the Ram pickup has been outselling the Bow-Tie brand’s offerings, dropping the Silverado to third overall through the first quarter of the year. Now through June 1, Chevrolet is advertising $4,000 off all crew-cab configurations of the Silverado 1500. That translates to anywhere from 5% off a loaded High Country with the standard bed to as much as 11% off a bare-bones Work Truck variant. Crew cabs shouldn’t be hard to find, however, as they typically account for a large share of full-size pickup inventory these days.
2021 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Hatchback, Corolla Hybrid
- Factory discount: $1,000 to $2,000
- Approximate price after discounts: $19,500 to $28,500
- Approximate factory savings: 3-8%
- Offer ends: June 1
The Corolla compact sedan and hatchback ranked eighth overall among the auto industry’s bestsellers through 2021’s first quarter, by Automotive News’ tabulation, and the automaker is offering deals on both body styles as well as the sedan’s hybrid variant. In fact, the best offer we found in most regions we surveyed was on the Corolla Hybrid, available in LE trim only, which accounts for roughly 13% of Cars.com’s Corolla inventory at the time of writing.
2021 Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid
- Factory discount: $750 to $1,500, excluding TRD
- Approximate price after discounts: $25,000 to $39,500
- Approximate factory savings: 2-5%
- Offer ends: June 1
The Camry’s deals are modest, especially if you opt for a loaded top-trim XSE in some markets. But, like with the Corolla, your best bet on a discount is likely to be the mid-size sedan’s hybrid variant, which comprised about 10% of Cars.com’s new Camry inventory at the time of this writing. The good news is that you can find at least $1,250 off in most markets we surveyed regardless of trim, and there’s money off to be had on all but the non-hybrid’s performance TRD version.
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How We Look for Deals
To look for Memorial Day deals, we surveyed the 10 bestselling models for advertised factory cash discounts and low-interest-rate financing offers that are especially high for the price of the car. After all, $3,000 is a lot more on a Ford Escape than a Ford Expedition.
Incentives data come from automakers’ websites. Remember, our numbers are current as of publication for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.