0% financing abounds on 2012 cars and trucks through Labor Day

Percentage sign on car windshield

Automakers out to clear 2012s off their lots are offering 0% financing on lots of cars and trucks.

In most cases, 0% financing is the best discount you can get on a vehicle.

Here are some of the brands and models offering free financing now through Labor Day:

Ford: Escape, Explorer, Fiesta, Fusion, Mustang and Taurus
Toyota: Avalon, Camry, Prius, Rav4 and Sienna
Mazda: Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda5
Cadillac: CTS
Buick: Enclave
GMC: Acadia, Sierra

Don’t see the brand or model you’re interested in?

Check our links to all the discounts being offered by every automaker to see what’s available.

These interest-free auto loans require you to use the car company’s financing arm (Ford Credit, for example) and take delivery from dealer stock by Sept. 4, 2012. (Check with your dealer. Some deals have already been extended to October, and we expect more will be added to that list.)

How much can you save with an interest-free loan?

Thousands. Take the 2012 Toyota Rav4 crossover, for example.

Sticker prices start at $23,410, including delivery, processing and handling fee. Make a 10% down payment, and the balance is $21,069.

Borrow that amount with a 60-month, no-interest loan, and the monthly payment is $351 with exactly zero going to interest costs.

But what if you have to finance that much with a traditional loan?

Let’s say you pay 4.38% for a 5-year loan, which is the average cost for those loans according to our latest national survey.

The monthly payment goes up to $392, and you’ll pay $2,460 in interest over the life of the loan.

The big question is whether you can qualify for 0% financing.

Discount loans are always reserved for customers with at least average, if not good to excellent, credit. There are no set rules for who qualifies for the best rates, but if your credit score is less than 670, don’t be surprised if you’re turned down.

One final caveat.

Discount loan rates can vary depending on where you live. So ask your local dealer what’s available in your area.

What if the car or truck you want to buy doesn’t qualify for 0% financing?

Search our database of the best auto loan ratesfrom scores of lenders.

Then, use our auto loan calculator to determine the monthly payment based on the vehicle you want to buy and the best loan you can find.

If you’re in the hunt for a new ride, be sure to read our 5 simple steps to the best deal on a new car or truck to help you sharp smart.

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