New-car incentives down nearly 10 percent since November 2009

(December 2, 2010) estimated today that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,470 per vehicle sold in November 2010, up $31, or 1.3 percent, from October 2010, but down $255, or 9.4 percent, from November 2009.

"Once again, perception trumped reality as car-shoppers pursued expected bargains during a traditional holiday deal weekend," stated Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis for "In truth, incentives simply aren't increasing at the rates suggested by the year-end advertising campaigns."

According to, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,221 per vehicle sold in November 2010, up from $3,115 in October 2010. However, European automakers decreased incentives spending by $94 to $2,285 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers decreased incentives spending by $28 to $1,784 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers decreased incentives spending by $27 to $1,571 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Seven Automakers
Automaker November 2010 October 2010 November 2009
Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) $2,975 $2,880 $3,190
Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury) $3,206 $3,135 $3,084
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet,
$3,345 $3,215 $4,361
Honda (Acura, Honda) $1,422 $1,402 $1,296
Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan) $2,179 $2,213 $2,170
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $1,948 $2,066 $1,777
Industry Average $2,470 $2,439 $2,725

In November 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $2.14 billion, down 7.4 percent from October 2010. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.3 billion, or 59.3 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $570 million, or 26.7 percent; European manufacturers spent $193 million, or 9.0 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $107 million, or 5.0 percent.

"Compared with November last year, GM cut its incentive spending by the largest percentage — 23 percent — of the Big 6 automakers. Toyota, still trying to dig itself out from the sales decline it experienced due to its many recalls this year, has increased incentives most of the Big 6 at 10 percent. Honda, which rides Toyota's coattails, also boosted its incentives by 10 percent on a year-to-year basis," reported Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her analysis of November sales trends on

Among vehicle segments, premium sport cars had the highest average incentives, $5,811 per vehicle sold, followed by premium luxury cars at $5,057. Subcompact cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,272, followed by sport cars at $1,422. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large cars averaged the highest, 13.2 percent, followed by large trucks at 10.3. Sport cars averaged the lowest with 3.8 percent and luxury SUVs followed with 4.6 percent.

Comparing all brands, in November smart spent the least, $519 per vehicle sold, followed by Subaru at $548. At the other end of the spectrum, Mercury spent the most, $6,927, followed by Cadillac at $5,340. Relative to their vehicle prices, Mercury and Saab spent the most, 23.2 percent and 12.6 percent of sticker price, respectively; while Porsche spent 1.5 and Subaru spent 2.1 percent.'s monthly True Cost of Incentives (TCISM) report takes into account all automakers' various U.S. incentives programs, including subvented interest rates and lease programs, as well as cash rebates to consumers and dealers. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy, bases its calculations on sales volume, including the mix of vehicle makes and models for each month, as well as on the proportion of vehicles for which each type of incentive was used.