Automotive Incentives Tick Up in May After Hitting Seven-Year Low, Says

Automotive Incentives Tick Up in May After Hitting Seven-Year Low, Says

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 31, 2012 — Auto manufacturers upped incentives in May, just one month after spending hit its lowest level in almost seven years, reports, the premier online resource for automotive information. According to's True Cost of Incentives® (TCISM), the auto industry spent $2,135 per vehicle this month, up 3.9 percent from April, and up 0.6 percent from May 2011.

"It's likely that incentives will continue a slow but steady rise in the coming months," says Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "There will be bigger discounts available on 2012 models through the summer to help dealers clear the way for incoming 2013 models. In fact, 2013 models already account for about 6.5 percent of new car sales."

Average True Cost of Incentives® (TCISM) by Car Manufacturer
Manufacturer May-12 Apr-12 May-11 May 2012 vs Apr 2012 May 2012 vs May 2011
Chrysler $2,567 $2,535 $2,400 1.3% 7.0%
Ford $2,594 $2,373 $2,475 9.3% 4.8%
GM $3,417 $3,339 $3,245 2.3% 5.3%
Honda $1,207 $1,223 $983 -1.3% 22.8%
Nissan $2,260 $2,073 $2,221 9.0% 1.8%
Toyota $1,458 $1,374 $1,250 6.1% 16.6%
Industry $2,135 $2,055 $2,122 3.9% 0.6%

Among the Big Six manufacturers, Ford increased its spending the most last month, upping its incentives 9.3 percent over April. Nissan followed behind with a month-over-month incentives increase of 9.0 percent. analysts say that both increases are corrective measures after both automakers slashed incentive spending in April and suffered hits to their market shares seemingly as a result.

Among brands, Chevrolet had the biggest discounts this month, offering an average of 10.7 percent off MSRP in May (compared to 11.0 percent in April). One brand that stood out this month for stepping back its discounts was Mazda. In April, the Japanese automaker offered the fourth highest discount (9.3 percent off MSRP) of any automotive brand. But in May, Mazda fell to the 12th spot with average discounts at just 7.2 percent off MSRP.

As always, shoppers can find the vehicles with the most compelling deals on's True Market Value® Deals of the Month page. also helps consumers get a sense of whether right now is a good time to buy specific new car models with its TMV® Predicted Price Trends.'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.

About Edmunds (, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its acclaimed mobile site, Android App and five-star Edmunds iPhone and iPad apps make car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and on the go. Its automotive enthusiast web site,, is the most-read car publication of its kind. Its highly regarded mobile site and iPhone app features the wireless Web's most comprehensive gallery of automotive photos and videos. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow on Twitter@edmunds and fan on Facebook.

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