Consumer advocates remind shoppers to read the fine print of a rebate offer - because not everybody will qualify for them.
"Rebates should be considered just another variable factor in your overall cost," the Web site Bankrate.com advises.
Some incentives may require you to use dealer financing, for example.
Others may be conditional, based on your credit score.
Indeed, to get the lowest or zero-financing options, you'll most likely have to score high on the Fair Isaac & Co. (or FICO) credit rating.
That score is determined by a variety of factors, such as your loan history, total credit you carry and your bill-paying record.
Based on your unique factors, your score can be as high as 850 - the upper limit of the scale, in which case you are likely to get the best interest or zero-interest deal.
You'll probably get a less attractive interest rate if your score is on the lower end of the scale.
You can get an approximation of your FICO score by going to www.bankrate.com and using its free service.
For a more detailed credit rating, the three major credit-rating companies offer Internet services for a fee.
Equifax - www.equifax.com
TransUnion - www.transunion.com
Experian - www.experian.com
Auto incentives may be best ever*
Credit rating can alter incentive
Concrete shortage begins to harden
$1.5B tax write-off by Delta
GEAE market best since pre-Sept. 11
Pierre Foods sold to investor group
Locally, more fingers do the walking to florists
Deficit up 20 percent over 2003
Whistleblower claims stay alive in lawsuit
Discount retailer headed this way
Small raises next 2 years, surveys say
After year of hits, Disney struggles
Tristate business summary