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Best deals on union-made cars for Labor Day 2013

Save money on these Consumer Reports recommended cars

Published: August 28, 2013 11:00 AM

Photo: CR

Labor Day weekend is traditionally a time for final summer vacations and barbecues—and car sales. The holiday commemorates the contributions by workers in building our nation’s economic engine. Its origins trace back to the late 19th century, celebrating the average worker and union labor. This year, we mark the occasion by highlighting the best deals on union-made cars.

Millions of cars are built in the United States each year, making it easier than ever to “buy American”—especially if you extend the definition to domestic-brand models assembled north of the border. With the exception of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the import-branded models, such as those offered by BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, assembled in the United States are built by nonunion workers. Consequently, the list we have compiled is populated almost entirely with cars from Ford and General Motors, and all are built by UAW and Canadian Auto Workers members.

To ensure these picks are good cars, as with all our Best New Car Deals, each meets Consumer Reports' criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated. Chrysler is excluded from this decidedly Detroit-leaning list due to many of its models not meeting these criteria, and no notable deals currently offered on the recommended Chrysler 300 (V6), Dodge Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee (V6).

When buying in the summer, it is important to know that a 2013 model will soon be considered a one-year-old car, despite being relatively fresh off the showroom floor. This means the car will take an initial (admittedly painful) depreciation hit. But the equity impact will balance out over time, should you hold on to the car for several years, and especially if you log more than 12,000 miles a year.

Often, the best model-year-end deals are found on models about to be replaced. In this particular roundup, that is not the case. Certainly some updates are expected, but these vehicles are expected to soldier on as 2014 models without dramatic change. It is worth noting that the Chevrolet Volt receives a $5,000 price cut for 2014, so negotiate hard on a 2013, or hold out for the new model.

In general, it pays to understand what is coming down the road, as it could affect your decision to by the last of a generation or empower your negotiations. (Visit our New Car Preview.)

Model Expires MSRP Invoice price
Customer rebate Dealer incentive Potential savings below MSRP
2013 Buick Enclave Convenience Group AWD 9/3 $41,340 $39,318 Yes No 10%+
2013 Buick Regal Turbo Premium I Group FWD 9/3 $31,530 $30,305 Yes No 5%+
2013 Cadillac CTS Sedan Premium RWD 9/3 $49,185 $46,529 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2SS 9/3 $42,185 $40,534 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT auto 9/3 $20,465 $19,679 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco auto 9/3 $21,685 $20,850 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Cruze LS auto 9/3 $19,035 $18,397 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Equinox AWD 1LT 9/3 $28,480 $27,099 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Equinox AWD 2LT 9/3 $30,350 $28,876 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Sonic LT sedan auto 9/3 $17,735 $17,058 Yes No 5%+
2013 Chevrolet Suburban LT 4WD 9/3 $51,470 $47,937 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Traverse 1LT AWD 9/3 $36,585 $34,799 Yes No 10%+
2013 Chevrolet Volt Base 9/3 $39,995 $38,429 Yes No 15%+
2013 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-1 9/3 $32,000 $30,445 Yes No 10%+
2013 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2 9/3 $35,245 $33,528 Yes No 10%+
2013 Lincoln Navigator 4WD 9/30 $61,770 $58,732 No Yes 10%+
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWD auto 9/3 $24,520 $23,520 Yes Yes 10%+
2014 Buick Enclave Convenience AWD 9/3 $41,665 $39,628 Yes No 5%+

To research these vehicles further, or to find the latest trim-level pricing on any model, visit the Consumer Reports' car model pages (available to online subscribers).

To ease the buying process, Consumer Reports offers a Build & Buy Program to subscribers. For Build & Buy, a nationwide network of over 6,000 participating dealers have agreed to pass along discounts provided by any applicable manufacturer incentives for the vehicle you're buying. This includes unadvertised manufacturer-to-dealer incentives, for which it's typically up to the dealer whether to keep the savings or pass them on to the customer. In recent months, the average estimated savings off MSRP has been over  $2,500.

See all current Best Deals or use our New Car Selector to create your own list of vehicles by sorting and filtering by the factors that matter most to you.

Jeff Bartlett and Todd Young

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