SANTA MONICA, Calif. — estimated today that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,382 per vehicle sold in January 2010, down $160, or 6.3 percent, from December 2009, and down $326, or 12.0 percent, from January 2009.

"January incentives were not particularly generous or compelling — until some automakers began trying to conquest unsettled Toyota owners and shoppers late in the month," stated Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for "January sales numbers are up from last year only because of fleet sales.”

According to, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,108 per vehicle sold in January 2010, down from $3,399 in December 2009. From December 2009 to January 2010, European automakers decreased incentives spending by $363 to $2,611 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers decreased incentives spending by $1 to $1,563 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers increased incentives spending by $69 to $2,096 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Seven Automakers


January 2010

December 2009

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General Motors




















Industry Average





In January 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $1.67 billion, down 35.9 percent from December 2009. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.0 billion, or 60.2 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $424 million, or 25.1 percent; European manufacturers spent $149 million, or 8.9 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $96 million, or 5.8 percent.

"February could prove interesting. We’ll see the usual President’s Day sales and, in addition, we could see some deals from Toyota as it tries to lure weary shoppers back to its showrooms after its recalls and sales stoppage. And Toyota competitors won’t stand still for that. As they demonstrated in January, they’ll do what they can to capitalize on Toyota’s weakened state," reported Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report on

Among vehicle segments, large trucks had the highest average incentives, $3,743 per vehicle sold, followed by large SUV at $3,724. Subcompact cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,116, followed by sport cars at $1,250. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large trucks averaged the highest, 11.0 percent, followed by large cars at 9.6 percent of sticker price. Premium sport cars averaged the lowest with 3.2 percent and premium luxury cars followed with 3.7 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in January MINI spent the least, $226 followed by Scion at $320 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, HUMMER spent the most, $5,733, followed by Lincoln at $5,484 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Saturn and HUMMER spent the most, 18.4 percent and 15.2 percent of sticker price, respectively; while MINI spent 1.0 and Scion spent 1.9 percent.