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Incentives Flat in June as Automakers Struggle, Edmunds.com Says

July 06, 2010

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds.com estimated that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,661 per vehicle sold in June 2010, down $36, or 1.3 percent, from May 2010, and down $196, or 6.9 percent, from June 2009.

"Automakers are struggling right now, and most have kept incentives flat while they try to determine how to boost sales," stated Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com. "No big incentives programs have been announced for the July Fourth holiday weekend yet, and that leads me to believe that auto sales in July won’t get off to a very strong start.”

According to Edmunds.com, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,471 per vehicle sold in June 2010, up from $3,460 in May 2010. From May 2010 to June 2010, European automakers decreased incentives spending by $19 to $2,334 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers decreased incentives spending by $97 to $1,895 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers decreased incentives spending by $6 to $1,775 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Six Automakers

Automaker

June 2010

May 2010

June 2009

Chrysler Group

$3,295

$3,080

$4,897

Ford

$3,117

$3,150

$3,534

General Motors

$3,808

$3,878

$3,414

Honda

$1,504

$1,523

$1,735

Nissan

$2,456

$2,581

$2,592

Toyota

$2,117

$2,236

$1,298

Industry Average

$2,661

$2,697

$2,857

In June 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $2.64 billion, down 11.1 percent from May 2010. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.6 billion, or 61.3 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $704 million, or 26.7 percent; European manufacturers spent $182 million, or 6.9 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $137 million, or 5.2 percent.

"Last June incentives were sky-high, but sales were depressed, as buyers waited for details on the Cash for Clunkers program," stated Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report on AutoObserver.com. “If the industry was truly recovering, we would be blowing last June’s car sales numbers out of the water.”

Among vehicle segments, large trucks had the highest average incentives, $4,631 per vehicle sold, followed by premium sport car at $3,883. Sport cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,371, followed by subcompact cars at $1,393. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large trucks averaged the highest, 12.6 percent, followed by compact cars at 11.7 percent of sticker price. Premium luxury cars averaged the lowest with 2.2 percent and premium sport cars followed with 3.7 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in June Subaru spent the least, $533 followed by Scion at $565 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, Saab spent the most, $5,843, followed by Cadillac at $5,505 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Mercury and Saab spent the most, 15.5 percent and 14.5 percent of sticker price, respectively; while Subaru spent 2.1 and Porsche spent 2.1 percent.

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