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Incentive Spending Increases as Automakers Entice Toyota Customers

March 05, 2010

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds.com estimated that the average automaker incentive in the United States was $2,588 per vehicle sold in February 2010, up $248, or 10.6 percent, from January 2010, but down $422, or 14.0 percent, from February 2009.

“Incentive spending went up last month for most major automakers as they tried to lure Toyota buyers to their brand,” stated Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com. “Toyota needs to stay competitive in this area while rebuilding confidence in their vehicles.”

According to Edmunds.com, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,394 per vehicle sold in February 2010, up from $2,968 in January 2010. From January 2010 to February 2010, European automakers increased incentives spending by $12 to $2,494 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers increased incentives spending by $270 to $1,853 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers decreased incentives spending by $630 to $1,676 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Seven Automakers

Automaker

February 2010

January 2010

February 2009

Chrysler Group

$3,388

$3,008

$5,608*

Ford

$3,301

$3,039

$3,384

General Motors

$3,434

$2,885

$3,681

Honda

$1,406

$1,212

$1,249

Hyundai

$1,676

$2,306

$3,367

Nissan

$2,602

$2,424

$2,572

Toyota

$1,833

$1,452

$1,682

Industry Average

$2,588

$2,340

$3,010

*Denotes a record

In February 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $2.03 billion, up 24.8 percent from January 2010. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.2 billion, or 58 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $571 million, or 28.3 percent; European manufacturers spent $165 million, or 8.2 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $110 million, or 5.5 percent.

“February was the first time since August 1998 that Ford outsold General Motors,” reported Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report on AutoObserver.com. “Ford has a lot of momentum right now, while GM has essentially stopped selling four of its brands.”

Among vehicle segments, large trucks had the highest average incentives, $4,194 per vehicle sold, followed by premium luxury car at $4,023. Subcompact cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,205, followed by sport cars at $1,394. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large trucks averaged the highest, 12.4 percent, followed by large cars at 11.4 percent of sticker price. Premium sport cars averaged the lowest with 1.7 percent and sport cars followed with 4.2 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in February smart spent the least, $341 followed by Scion at $426 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, Lincoln spent the most, $5,568, followed by HUMMER at $5,195 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Saturn and HUMMER spent the most, 14.9 percent and 13.6 percent of sticker price, respectively; while Porsche spent 1.4 and smart spent 2.3 percent.

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