From Derby Day to Mother’s Day, May brings no shortage of reasons to celebrate. But while a rose garland is the coveted award for the top horse (and a rose bouquet might be for the top mom), shoppers looking for a good deal on a new ride would likely trade the smell of roses for the new-car smell. Although we haven’t crossed the finish line of the inventory shortage just yet, shoppers should find a few reasons to celebrate this month — namely, rising inventory levels and incentives.

Related: Is the Inventory Shortage Coming to an End?

According to JD Power’s latest sales forecast, shoppers are having an easier time finding vehicles on dealer lots as inventory levels gradually improve. In April, the average vehicle spent 30 days on a dealer lot before being sold versus 18 days the same time a year prior. While this is a good sign the inventory shortage is abating, shoppers shouldn’t go in expecting jam-packed lots: For comparison, prior to the inventory shortage, the average vehicle spent 70 days on the lot before being sold.

Finding the right vehicle is the first half of the equation, finding an affordable one the (equally important) second. JD Power estimates the average new-vehicle transaction price for April was $46,044, a minor improvement from December 2022’s record high of $47,362. The lower average price can be attributed to fewer vehicles selling above MSRP and increasing incentives: In April, 32% of new cars sold above MSRP, down from 48% in July 2022. At the same time, incentives are starting to trickle back, but they remain well below pre-pandemic levels: The average incentive in April was estimated at $1,599 (3.3% of MSRP), up from $1,007 (2.2%) a year prior.

Shoppers placing their bets on a new-car purchase this month will find a superfecta of deals on everything from a muscle car to a pair of family-friendly SUVs and a pickup truck that can serve as a workhorse or daily driver. Depending on the trim level and region, most of these vehicles bring cash discounts that fall well above average.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox

  • Factory discounts: $1,500
  • Approximate price after savings: $26,500-$43,500
  • Approximate factory savings: 3%-5%
  • Offer ends: May 31

The 2023 Chevrolet Equinox offers a roomy and comfortable cabin, easy-to-use tech and a lower starting price than many compact SUV rivals. While it lacks some standard features found among competitors, the Equinox’s overall value earned it a spot in the small SUV category on the Affordability Report. For May, Chevy is offering $1,500 off on the Equinox across the regions we surveyed to further boost its value. As average interest rates are on the rise, qualified shoppers who finance with Chevy parent GM can swap cash deals for a rate of 1.9% for 36 months. Both offers are available through May 31.

  • Factory discounts: $2,000-$3,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $32,000-$55,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 4%-9%
  • Offer ends: May 31

The 2023 Charger takes its final lap as a gas-powered sedan before Dodge steps further into the electrification race with an upcoming battery-powered replacement. For now, the Charger rolls on with a selection of V-6 or V-8 engines, trim level depending. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all variants, though the SXT and GT offer all-wheel drive available. Shoppers looking to get their hands on the muscle car before it’s discontinued will find savings of $2,000-$3,000 on the SXT, GT and R/T trims this month. Available discounts vary by region and trim and also run through May 31.

  • Factory discounts: $1,000-$6,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $38,500-$75,500
  • Approximate factory savings: 1%-13%
  • Offer ends: May 31’s Best SUV of 2023 award winner brings a plethora of powertrains, four-wheel-drive systems and creature comforts to accommodate a wide range of lifestyles. The Grand Cherokee also brings some of the best incentives this month to better accommodate a range of budgets. Depending on trim, cash deals of $1,000-$6,000 were observed across most regions we surveyed. Qualified shoppers who finance with Jeep parent Stellantis can trade the cash-only offer for one of two available financing deals: 2.9% for 36 months or 3.9% for 72 months. All cash and finance offers run through May 31.

  • Factory discounts: $2,000-$4,000
  • Approximate price after savings: $41,000-$72,000
  • Approximate factory savings: 3%-8%
  • Offer ends: May 31

Yet again, the 2023 Ram 1500 earns our Editor’s Choice of the month. The pickup’s Big Horn and Texas-equivalent Lone Star variants pack savings of up to $4,000. Although it hasn’t seen a major update since 2019, it beat out newer rivals to become a finalist on our Best Pickup Truck of 2023 roster. The Ram 1500 is a jack-of-all-trades with a high-quality interior, comfortable ride, off-road options and a wide range of towing capacities. In lieu of the cash deal, qualified shoppers can opt for a rate of 2.9% for 72 months when they finance with parent Ram Stellantis. As with the aforementioned deals, these offers are available through the end of the month and are region-dependent.

How We Look for Deals

To help car shoppers find the best deals for May, we lead with cash offers available to shoppers at large, not those that require financing with the automaker or having certain qualifications (eg, military or college-graduate discounts, loyalty or conquest bonuses, etc. .). In calculating the overall percentage discount and pricing after incentives, we focus on the vehicle’s price range from the cheapest incentives-eligible trim level with no factory options to the priciest eligible trim with all factory options. We include the destination charge in such pricing, but we exclude a few other items: taxes and fees, which vary considerably by region, and dealer accessories, which vary considerably by automaker.

Because these are factory discounts, they should be available to all participating dealers. As such, use them as the starting point for negotiations, not a reason to skip haggling altogether.

Incentives data come from automakers’ websites. Remember, our numbers are current as of publications for the markets we survey (generally Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and New York). They reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level; automakers may also change them later in the month. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.

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