DETROIT — A study by Buycentives revealed that rebates and incentives continued to play a role in February auto sales. Of the Top 20 selling models last month, 19 came with customer incentives as large as $3,000, according to the online marketing network.

“Clearly, the presence of about $2.5 billion in incentive spending in February helped propel the market to its highest level in four years,” said David Goldschmidt, president and founder of Buycentives. “But what many don’t realize is that nearly all of the top sellers also were ‘on sale’ and these price reductions helped automakers maintain sales momentum or chase market share.”

Slow sellers and aged models typically benefit the most from customer and dealer cash rebates, below market interest rates and lease deals, but there are exceptions, according to Buycentives. Ford’s 2012 Focus was the No.7 best seller, achieved in part by $1,000 cash and zero percent financing deals from the automaker. The company’s study revealed that all of February’s Top 20 sellers came with customer incentives, except the 2012 Honda CR-V.

“Car companies use incentives at both ends of the market,” Goldschmidt said. “Shoppers should know that it’s not just the laggards that receive great incentives to produce sales. Some of the more desirable and competitive entries today have incentives, such as the Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Equinox and Hyundai Sonata.”

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