Smart shoppers can take advantage of rebates as rich as $6,000, or financing as cheap as zero percent through the end of March.

Among the most alluring of all sales promotions is the cash-back rebate. In the automotive universe rebates are used early and often to help resolve supply and demand issues to keep factories humming and prevent dealers’ inventories from becoming bloated. Not only do they directly reduce a vehicle’s sticker price (and that’s before negotiating the dealer’s discount), rebates are typically applied to the down payment, which can help a buyer with dicey credit qualify for a car loan, or one that affords more favorable terms.

Whether you take the rebate or financing deal – shop for your next car on

The sweetest deals are typically offered on the slowest-selling models and those that are about to be redesigned or discontinued. Luxury automakers typically eschew rebates in favor of lease deals and “secret” direct-to-dealer incentives that won’t be perceived as “cheapening” the brand. At that, this month you’ll find cash back offers between $2,000 and $4,750 on the industry’s best-selling model, the Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck, with higher rebate amounts going to more-basic models that are taking a back seat these days to the opulently equipped Limited, Platinum, and King Ranch versions.

Most of the deals we’re highlighting this month in the accompanying slideshow offer a cut-rate financing component as an alternative to receiving cash back. Click here for a full discussion of when to take the cash up front or the financing deal, but taking the discounted interest rate is usually the better deal when purchasing a higher-priced vehicle, assuming your credit scores are high enough to qualify for the best terms. Some models offer as an alternative to cash back a smaller rebate combined with cut-rate financing, which can be the best deals of all. As an example, this month the Dodge Journey SUV is being offered with $5,000 cash back or $2,000 cash and 0.0% financing for 36 months.

As always these deals sometimes vary from one part of the country to another, so be sure to check with automakers’ websites to determine what’s being offered where you reside.

Decisions, decisions: