Edmunds.com Reports True Cost of Incentives: Model Year Closeout is Slow as Incentives Stay Low

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--()--Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, estimated today that the average automaker incentive in the U.S. was $2,576 per vehicle sold in September 2010, down $125, or 4.6 percent, from August 2010, and down $170, or 6.2 percent, from September 2009.

“Typically there is a significant increase in incentives spend from August to September, but that isn’t the case this year,” stated Edmunds.com Analyst Ivan Drury. “Interestingly, automakers are adopting very different incentives strategies even as they all try to hold down their incentives levels."

For example, in the past two months General Motors weighted incentives toward 2010 model year vehicles and it dramatically cleared out the old inventory; now only 48 percent of the company’s new vehicle sales are 2010 model year. On the other hand, Toyota incentives average only $134 more for a 2010 model year vehicle than for a 2011 – and as a result 66 percent of its new vehicles sales are 2010s.

Edmunds.com estimates that in September, 64 percent of all new cars sold are from the 2010 model year and had an average incentive of $3,021, while 35 percent of new cars sold are from the 2011 model year and had an average incentive of $1,704. Last year at this time, 57 percent of new cars were from the 2009 model year and had an average incentive of $3,425, while 42 percent of new cars sold were from the 2010 model year and had an average incentive of $1,583.

According to Edmunds.com, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,204 per vehicle sold in September 2010, down from $3,441 in August 2010. From August 2010 to September 2010, European automakers decreased incentives spending by $229 to $2,294 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers increased incentives spending by $12 to $2,119 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers decreased incentives spending by $180 to $1,589 per vehicle sold.

True Cost of Incentives for the Top Six Automakers
Automaker           September 2010           August 2010           September 2009
Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) $3,036 $3,270 $4,289
Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury) $3,052 $3,100 $3,039

General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC)

$3,430

$3,820

$4,290

Honda (Acura, Honda) $1,755 $1,731 $893
Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan) $2,874 $2,971* $2,546
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,212 $2,193 $1,515
Industry Average           $2,576           $2,701           $2,746

*Denotes a record

In September 2010, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $2.41 billion, down 10.1 percent from August 2010. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.3 billion, or 55.7 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $765 million, or 31.7 percent; European manufacturers spent $180 million, or 7.5 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $124 million, or 5.2 percent.

"Reports from the Paris motor show indicate that the auto industry is planning for a prosperous future, given that automakers are showing high-tech, green cars that are likely to have hefty price tags," noted AutoObserver.com Senior Editor Bill Visnic, whose overview of “Mondial Auto 2010” can be found at http://www.autoobserver.com/2010/09/paris-show-opens-to-press-today-with-extreme-green-themes.html.

Among vehicle segments, premium sport cars had the highest average incentives, $6,472 per vehicle sold, followed by premium luxury cars at $4,265. Subcompact cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $1,122, followed by sport cars at $1,423. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large cars averaged the highest, 11.9 percent, followed by large trucks at 11.5 percent of sticker price. Sport cars averaged the lowest with 3.8 percent and premium luxury cars followed with 4.6 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in September smart spent the least, $211, followed by Subaru at $548 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, HUMMER spent the most, $5,055, followed by Saab at $4,997 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Saab and Chrysler spent the most, 12.9 percent and 12.5 percent of sticker price, respectively; while smart spent 1.3 and Audi spent 1.8 percent.

Edmunds.com's monthly True Cost of IncentivesSM (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, Edmunds.com 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.

About Edmunds.com Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/)

Edmunds.com Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace is an automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

Contacts

Edmunds.com
Jeannine Fallon
Corporate Communications
www.edmunds.com
Media Hotline: 310-309-4900
pr@edmunds.com

Release Summary

Automakers are not offering much in the way of new car incentives because of the economy, and that means a shift in timing of the sell-down of inventory.

Contacts

Edmunds.com
Jeannine Fallon
Corporate Communications
www.edmunds.com
Media Hotline: 310-309-4900
pr@edmunds.com