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German automakers may be top of mind for luxury vehicle shoppers, but Buick has been a steady performer for U.S. car giant General Motors and a sleeper hit in Asia, too. It sells more vehicles than Cadillac and despite its rather sedate reputation, Buick is the brand U.S. buyers stretched their budgets the most in order to own, according to a LendingTree study.
Buick offers luxury car amenities without the sticker shock of some rivals and won the Best Value Luxury Brand award from KBB for the past three years running. And, as a GM brand, it also offers quite a few discount programs.
To see how you might get a luxurious deal not just on a Buick vehicle but also on Buick financing, keep reading. We break down what you can expect from financing through the manufacturer, what to look for and what to ask so you can get your best deal.
If you finance through Buick, your lender will be GM Financial. GM owns Buick, along with Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet and uses one finance company, GM Financial, as the in-house lender for all of them. Accordingly, GM Financial is a huge auto lender and it’s rated well; the Better Business Bureau rates it with an A+.
The minimum credit score requirement to finance with GM is 550, but the weighted average credit score is much higher at 703. If you’re not sure what yours is, you can check your credit score at LendingTree.
Ask for a credit tier bump. Like with all lenders, a Buick loan application is sorted into a credit tier. There are different APRs, terms, rebates and special financing offers based on the tier you’re in — the higher the tier, the better the offers. If you don’t like the loan offer you receive from GM or any other lender, you could always ask for a tier bump from your salesperson, the finance manager or the lender representative.
Your credit tier is not solely dependent on your credit score. Your credit history, income, debt and assets influence it, as well as what’s called the “deal’s structure,” which includes how much you want to finance relative to your down payment.
Reasons you deserve a tier bump could include a large income, little debt, large savings and large down payment. By asking for a tier bump, or what it would take to get one, you’re showing you have some inside knowledge and it gives you a better negotiating point.
Some Buick incentives require that you finance with GM Financial to qualify for them, such as low APR offers and certain Bonus Cash offers. Other incentives do not. You can combine some offers to get a major deal, while others you simply can’t combine. Here’s a general guide on Buick’s rebates and incentives — the types and the general requirements and rules.
Depending on your location and the time of year, this may not be an exhaustive list, so be sure to check with the Buick or GM website, or with a dealership.
Which is better, a rebate/discount or low-APR financing? If you have to choose between a rebate/discount and a low-APR offer, it’s almost always better to take the rebate/discount because you get the money now. Low APR financing uses the rebate money to buy down the APR instead of using it to reduce the vehicle price. Buying down the APR means you won’t capture the full value of that low-APR financing if you pay off the car early, sell it or trade it in before the loan term is due.
My Buick Rewards. You could sign up for this program whether you’re about to buy your first Buick or you’ve had one for decades. In fact, it’s a prospective owner’s benefit to sign up early — only members accrue points for purchases related to their Buicks. You may then use those points for things such as an OnStar® plan, an extended warranty or discounts on dealer services for your Buick.
You could get to the online application by going through Buick’s website or going directly to GM Financial’s site. You’ll need to know the vehicle you want, down to the trimline and you’ll be directed to choose a dealership based on location or dealership name. You’ll also need to provide personal, residential and employment information for yourself and, if there is one, the co-applicant as well, including Social Security number and annual income.
Get preapproved. We highly recommend that before going to the dealership, you get at least a couple auto loan preapprovals from other lenders such as your bank or credit union. It does not hurt your credit if you do multiple applications for the same thing within a 14-day window anymore than it would if you only did one application. The credit bureaus have this window specifically so consumers can shop for their best rates. Dealerships can make money by raising your APR above what the lender charges and if you don’t already know the APR you can get, you might be pressured to take a much higher APR and end up paying a lot more.
You could read up on the benefits of getting preapproved here and fill out an online form at LendingTree to potentially find up to five preapproved auto loan offers from lenders.
Leasing may help you get into a newer or nicer vehicle than you could afford to purchase. It’s also useful if you get a new vehicle often or if you want a lower payment. This is because you’re buying only the right to use the car for a set number of months instead of buying the actual car.
There are restrictions on what you can do with the car during those months, however, and in many 36 month leases, you pay about half the total value of the car — and could choose to walk away without a car at the end of the lease. You can read this if you’re curious about other end-of-lease options.
If you don’t know whether leasing is right for you, check out our guide on whether to lease or buy.
Consider a few alternative lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online financers, and apply to the best one. You could take a look at this story on where to get the best auto loan rates in 2018, which features lenders that give the lowest APRs according to the credit scores they accept.
The idea is to get multiple loan offers so you can compare offers and see which is the best for you, whether it’s the one with the lowest monthly payment or the one with the lowest APR. You could fill out one online form and get up to five auto loan offers on LendingTree.com, saving you time from filling out a form for each lender.
Walter Marr built the first Buick in 1903 in the barn behind David Buick’s house. The brand is not named after Marr partially because Marr either quit or got fired several times from the company due to the men’s hot tempers clashing. Only 37 Buick cars were produced in 1904. Now, Buick produces more than a thousand a day with 348,762 Buick cars sold in the first months of 2018. General Motors owns Buick and compared with its sister companies like Chevy, Buck is still relatively small. Chevy sold 199,367 cars in the U.S. in March alone to Buick’s 26,834.
On the financial side, If you bought a Buick or any GM vehicle before 2006, you may have heard of General Motors Acceptance Co., better known as GMAC. Because of the financial crisis, GM sold GMAC, which became Ally Financial. As it recovered from the crisis, GM bought another lender and renamed it GM Financial to serve as its lending arm. GMAC doesn’t exist any more, but GM Financial is going strong and does much of the lending for Buick buyers.
Despite being established by young men with hot tempers, Buick gained the stigma of being “your grandfather’s car.” To overcome this, it recently had an advertising campaign with supermodels and athletes. If you had the idea that Buicks are beaten-down sedans owned by the elderly, celebrities like Shaq went out of their way to tell you differently: Buicks are now large, luxurious and modern. In China, where Buick doesn’t face this stigma, sales so far this year were more than double U.S. sales.