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Cadillac is known as the American luxury vehicle. A new U.S. president not only inherits Air Force One, they also get Cadillac One, a custom, rolling fortress nicknamed “The Beast.”
As a luxury brand with high price tags, Cadillac is not aimed at the mass market. Its parent company, General Motors (GM), supports its strong sales trend, but its sales are relatively low in volume even compared with other luxury automakers. In February 2018 Cadillac sold 12,338 cars in the U.S., while competitor Lexus sold almost double that amount in North America with 23,750 vehicles delivered.
If you’re interested in getting this relatively rare American luxury brand, here are the basics of how you might finance the Cadillac of your dreams.
Cadillac is owned by GM. If you finance through Cadillac, your lender will be GM Financial, which finances loan amounts ranging from $7,500 to $125,000 and terms between 24 and 72 months. On the Cadillac U.S. website though, the finance calculator offers terms between 36 and 60 months, which are the terms GM Financial prefers to offer most Cadillac buyers who qualify.
The weighted average FICO credit score of people who financed with GM Financial is 703. If you’re not sure what yours is, you can check your credit score at LendingTree.
Ask for a credit tier bump. Like most lenders, GM Financial sorts credit applications into credit tiers. Different rates and programs are available to customers based on the credit tier they are in. If you don’t like the loan offer you receive, from Cadillac or any other lender, you could always ask for a tier bump.
Your credit tier is usually determined not just by your credit score, but also by your credit history, your income, your debt, the assets you have saved and what’s called the “deal’s structure,” which involves how much down payment you’re giving relative to how much you want to finance. Reasons you deserve a tier bump could include a large income, little debt, large savings and large down payment. If you ask for a credit tier bump, or what it would take to get one, you’re showing you know a bit about the industry and it gives you a better negotiating point.
If you get the timing right, you may find a deal as cushy as the driver’s seat in a Caddy. Here we’ll go over the main types of rebates and incentives Cadillac offers, and the general requirements of each.
To qualify for some Cadillac rebates and incentives, you may have to choose GM Financial as your lender. For other programs, such as the Military Discount, your lender is irrelevant to whether you qualify.
Overall, the incentives may vary depending on the exact vehicle, its location and the time of year. Most incentives are set monthly and can change monthly. Be aware of the incentive expiration date if you’ve decided on a vehicle. And this may not be an exhaustive list of incentives, so be sure to check on the Cadillac or GM Finance websites, or with a Cadillac dealership.
Which is better, a rebate or special financing? If you have to choose between a purchase allowance and a special financing offer, it’s almost always better to take the purchase allowance because you get the money now. If you choose the low APR financing, you’re using the rebate money to buy down the APR instead of using it to reduce the vehicle price. Buying down the APR means you’ll have to keep the car for the full loan term — not pay it off early and not sell it or trade it in before the loan term is up — in order to capture all the value.
My Cadillac Rewards. You could sign up for this program whether you’ve had a Cadillac for decades or you’re about to buy your first one. You could earn select amounts of reward points for purchases related to your Cadillac, such as buying accessories and services at a Cadillac dealership or getting a 4G data plan for the vehicle. You have to be a member of the program before buying your car or any other thing in order to receive the points for a purchase. You could then use reward points for various services such as an OnStar® plan, an extended warranty or discounts on dealer services for your Cadillac.
Certified pre-owned. This type of used car is different from plain used cars in that certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles have to be certified by the manufacturer, be in excellent condition and, in Cadillac’s case, come with an extra warranty. This warranty adds more time or miles on the car’s original powertrain warranty for a total of six years from the original date the car was put into service, or a total of 100,000 miles. Depending on the vehicle model year, this is either one year or 30,000 miles over what would come on the car if you bought it as a plain used vehicle. For more information on warranties and extended warranties you can read this guide.
No matter how you apply, you’ll need to have basic information ready for each person (usually up to two people) who will be on the auto loan. This includes address, income, employer and identifying details such as Social Security number.
Online. You could either go to the Cadillac website and follow the link through to the GM Financial website, or you could go directly to the GM Financial site. Applications can be completed in less than five minutes.
In person. We highly recommend you get a few preapprovals before you go in person to a dealership so you’ll know the APR and loans you deserve. Dealerships are often able to make money by raising your APR above what the lender charges. If you don’t already know you can get a great rate, you might be pressured to take a high rate.
Get preapproved. Before going in person to the dealership, apply either online or in person at your bank, credit union or other lender for a preapproval. You don’t have to know exactly which car you want, and it does not hurt your credit if you do multiple applications within a 14-day window any more than if you only did one application. Credit scoring models do this specifically so consumers can shop around for a loan and compare offers. Having multiple loan offers gives you better leverage to negotiate.
You could read up on the benefits of getting preapproved and go to LendingTree to compare auto loan offers from up to five different lenders.
Leasing may be a good choice if you like to get a new car every few years or you have your eye on a pricey vehicle. Monthly payments on a leased vehicle are usually less expensive than payments on a purchased vehicle.
However, you don’t own the car at the end of the lease. In most 36-month leases, the lessee pays for half the car’s value and walks away with no car. There are also restrictions on mileage, allowed accessories, wear and tear, and you could be charged extra for going over the restrictions.
For some people, the cost is worth it, as it’s the cheapest way monthly and overall to consistently have a new car. Others value the flexibility at the end of the lease, when you could turn the car in, trade it in or buy it. If you want more information on leasing or you’re unsure how to decide, you could check out our guide on whether to lease or buy and how a car lease buyout works.
It’s smart to get an auto loan preapproval from an alternative financer, regardless of planning to ultimately finance through Cadillac. Other possible lenders include banks, credit unions and online lenders. Some banks give APR discounts if you already have an account with them and sign up for automatic payments.
You could take a look at this story on where to get the best auto loan rates in 2018, which breaks up lenders that give the lowest APRs by the credit scores they accept.
The idea is that multiple applications will result in multiple loan offers, so you can compare offers to see which is the best for you, whether it’s the one with the lowest monthly payment or the one with the lowest APR. On LendingTree, you could fill out one online form and potentially compare multiple loan offers.
“Float like a Cadillac” was a phrase used in Disney’s 2006 movie “Cars.” And Cadillac has been floating since 1902. It won international awards early on, including one in 1912 for equipping cars with an electric self-starter: You no longer had to crank up your car’s engine to start it, you could just turn a key. This was the epitome of luxury in 1912.
General Motors (GM) bought Cadillac back in 1908 and to this day sells Cadillac-branded cars domestically and internationally. There is strong demand for it in China and, in the second quarter of 2018, global sales were up 3%, mostly driven by demand for crossover models in China and the U.S. In tune with the trends, Cadillac plans to release an all-new crossover model, XT4, in the fall of 2018.
And, of course, the epitome of luxury in 2018 is to have a vehicle drive itself. Cadillac features Super Cruise, a hands-free way to travel on a freeway, keeping the car in the road lane, braking and accelerating as appropriate, within limits. At the time this is written, no vehicle will drive itself totally and the Cadillac Super Cruise requires the driver to keep alert. But this shows Cadillac is one of the brands working toward driverless vehicles.
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