Edmunds finds auto incentives increase in July

(August 20, 2010) Edmunds.com has estimated that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,753 per vehicle sold in July 2010, up $63, or 2.3 percent, from June 2010, and up $67, or 2.5 percent, from July 2009.

"This year, seasonal incentives started earlier than in years' past, which really helped boost sales in July," stated Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com. "Typically, August is when manufacturers really start to push the previous year models off dealership lots."

According to Edmunds.com, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,545 per vehicle sold in July 2010, up from $3,515 in June 2010. From June 2010 to July 2010, European automakers increased incentives spending by $52 to $2,440 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers increased incentives spending by $177 to $2,097 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers increased incentives spending by $81 to $1,907 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Seven Automakers
Automaker July 2010 June 2010 July 2009
Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) $3,105 $3,259 $4,201
Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo) $3,118 $3,182 $3,288
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet,
$4,093 $3,893 $3,617
Honda (Acura, Honda) $1,773 $1,489 $1,281
Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan) $2,839* $2,594 $2,605
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,204 $2,141 $1,302
Industry Average $2,753 $2,690 $2,686

*Denotes a record

In July 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $2.93 billion, up 11.0 percent from June 2010. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.7 billion, or 57.3 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $882 million, or 30.0 percent; European manufacturers spent $223 million, or 7.6 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $150 million, or 5.1 percent.

"Nissan stands out in July, spending the highest amount ever on incentives and seeing its highest lease percentage ever. A third of Nissan's transactions were leases," said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report on AutoObserver.com.

Krebs continued, "General Motors used more dealer cash than usual to sweep out older models from their inventory."

Among vehicle segments, premium sport cars had the highest average incentives, $5,648 per vehicle sold, followed by large trucks at $4,574. Sport cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,411, followed by subcompact cars at $1,525. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large cars averaged the highest, 13.5 percent, followed by large trucks at 12.4 percent of sticker price. Premium luxury cars averaged the lowest with 3.5 percent and sport cars followed with 3.9 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in July Subaru spent the least, $563 followed by Scion at $654 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, Saab spent the most, $6,822, followed by Cadillac at $5,790 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Saab and Mercury spent the most, 17.5 percent and 15.7 percent of sticker price, respectively; while Subaru spent 2.2 and Porsche spent 2.7 percent.