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The first Mazda vehicle was a three-wheeled truck. The motorcycle with a box on the back was efficient for its time, 1931 — now you can buy a $3 million Mazda concept car, which looks like the Batmobile and a race car had a baby. The company’s tagline is “zoom-zoom.”
If $3 million isn’t in your budget, Mazda does make other “zoom” worthy vehicles; perhaps the most famous is the Miata, a zippy sport convertible. From sports cars to sedans, if you’re thinking about buying a Mazda for yourself, you might be considering manufacturer financing.
Like competitors, you usually have to have good to great credit to qualify for Mazda financing directly through Mazda. When you apply to any lender, your application is categorized into a credit tier. The higher the tier, the more likely you are to get a loan offer, and the better loan offer you’ll get.
Jose Efrain Tavarez has been a Mazda salesperson for 22 years in San Antonio. “Yes, of course the better your credit, the better the financing,” he said. But you could still qualify for financing directly through Mazda when you have OK credit if you have money down — the nice thing is that Mazda counts its rebates as money down on the car.
As Tavarez noted, your credit score does play a big part in determining your credit tier (you can check your credit score for free here), but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Your credit tier isn’t just based on credit score — your credit report, down payment, loan term and the type and value of the car are also considered, according to Mazda.
Ask for a tier bump. If the loan offer you receive isn’t as good as you were expecting, you could ask for a tier bump. You could point out the reasons why you should get a tier bump, which might include high income, low debt, positive credit history or the down payment you’re making. If that doesn’t work, you could ask what it would take to get a tier bump. It might be that a slightly larger down payment could improve your loan offer’s APR.
Get preapproved. You can learn what to expect by getting an auto loan preapproval and having a loan offer in-hand when you go into the dealership, as it gives you a great way to negotiate. For example, if the dealership offers you a 5% APR auto loan and you have a 3% APR loan preapproval in your pocket, tell them and ask them to beat it. Having a preapproved auto loan could save you money and help you walk into the dealership with more confidence.
Ultimately, if you choose to finance directly through Mazda, you’ll actually make your auto payments to Chase. Mazda doesn’t operate its own financial lending division and instead partners with JPMorgan Chase, which manages Mazda Capital Services in the U.S. to provide customer financing. So if you finance through Mazda Capital Services, Chase will be the one lending you the money. (If you want to figure out what your payment may be, you could use LendingTree’s auto loan calculator.)
But this isn’t a unique situation — Chase also manages manufacturer financing programs for Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati and Subaru.
Just because Chase manages Mazda financing doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out on manufacturer finance specials. There are still special APR financing deals, rebates and incentives. They are often vehicle-specific and time sensitive, so make sure the exact car you want has the rebate that you may qualify for when you plan to buy it.
This is not an exhaustive list of Mazda rebates and incentives or of their requirements — visit Mazda’s website or a dealer for more information.
Which is better, a rebate or special financing? When you have the option to choose between low-APR financing and a rebate, you’re really choosing how to use the same amount of money. If you take the rebate, you’re reducing the vehicle price upfront. If you take the low APR, you’re reducing the APR over the term of your loan.
It’s almost always better to take the rebate because you get the money now. Buying down the APR means you’ll have to keep the car for the full loan term in order to capture all the value; many people don’t keep the car for the full loan term.
If you like to have a new car every few years, leasing a car, turning it in and leasing again is usually easier on your wallet than buying, trading it in and buying again. Leasing could also help you get into a car you otherwise couldn’t afford to buy. If you’re unsure whether to lease or buy, you can check out this guide, and read up on the different types of leases.
As with most manufacturers, Mazda offers a range of options. You can lease a Mazda from 24 to 60 months with 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year. Mileage and wear and tear are limited. If you exceed those limits, you can be charged for it.
When your lease is over, you have three options: Purchase the vehicle you’ve been leasing, turn it in or replace it by leasing or purchasing or leasing another Mazda. If your lease is nearing an end, definitely check to see if there are any rebates or special incentives going on for lessees. For more information, you could read this guide on how a lease buyout works.
Whatever you do, don’t apply to just one lender when looking for Mazda financing. It doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders within a 14-day window any more than it does to apply to one lender. Consider a few lenders and compare offers to see which is the best fit for you. You may want the one with the lowest monthly payment or the one with the lowest APR. Potential lenders include your bank, your credit union or online lender.
The Japan-based company began in 1931. The name Mazda is a reference to both the founder — Jujiro Matsuda — and a god — Ahura Mazda, a god of light.
“The engineers at Mazda do things that no others do,” Tavarez said. “They put a high compression, 13:1 engine with headers in their cars. And headers were made for race cars, they’re noisy, but Mazda made them silent.”
The company is focused on making vehicles that are “exciting to drive” as well as eco-friendly, fitting for a company named in part after a nature deity. It won a plethora of awards recently, including four 2018 models — the CX-3, CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda3 — that received Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The EPA named Mazda the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S. for the fifth year running.
Its U.S. market share has not been large, but it plans to change this with a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant it’s building with Toyota, due to open in Alabama in 2021.
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