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Hurricane Sandy doesn't blow away new-car deals

Hurricane Sandy doesn't blow away new-car deals

For those on the East Coast recovering from Hurricane Sandy, you can still cash in on a variety of dealer incentives available toward the purchase of a new car.

In the days immediately following the storm, many automakers announced incentives such as $500 bonus cash for buying Chrysler, Ford, and GM vehicles. Hyundai is offering a $750 incentive, along with a 90-day payment deferral for existing finance customers. Nissan is passing along their employee discount to shoppers, and Volkswagen will match the insurance deductible (up to $1,000) toward the purchase or lease or a new VW.

The region has also seen a variety of creative local offers, with dealers promising deep discounts on new cars. However, despite hearing and seeing such assistance advertised, the discounts can be hard to find on dealer websites. The clear lesson here is car buyers in Sandy's path should visit the stores in-person to inquire about available offers.

To be eligible, shoppers affected by the hurricane will typically need to validate the damage to their trade-in vehicle through insurance claim filings; make sure as you hold on to proper documentation. The offers we reviewed are available through the end of the year.

Before you cash in on the deals, make sure you are buying the best car for your money. Deals are nice, but they are better on a good car. A mere $500 off a car that didn't do well in CR's tests, is unreliable or depreciates rapidly may not be such a good deal in the long run.

Check our Ratings and reliability information available in our model pages to see which vehicles perform well in our tests. While there, check the predicted reliability and owner costs. You can also continue through to our Build and Buy Program for guaranteed savings at qualified dealerships near you.

More from Consumer Reports:
2013 New Car Preview
Best & worst used cars
Complete Ratings for 200 cars and trucks

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on Yahoo!. Copyright © 2007-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.