U.S. auto sales incentives rise in May: report

July 15, 2007 - 0:0

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Consumer incentives offered on new cars rose nearly 2 percent in May from a month earlier in the U.S. market, according to a report released on Friday.

Auto industry tracking service Edmunds.com estimated that the average manufacturer incentive on a new vehicle was 2,497 dollars in May, up 44 dollars from the levels in April. "In previous months, we have seen year-over-year declines in incentives spending, but this month the trend reversed," Edmunds analyst Jesse Toprak said in a statement. Major automakers will report monthly sales results on Friday. Analysts expect May sales to have fallen slightly from last year with forecast calling for the industry-wide annualized sales rate to slip to between 15.9 million to 16 million vehicles. Auto sales incentives are widely tracked by analysts as an indication of the relative profitability of competing automakers and the pressure that they face to move inventory. The auto incentives can include concessional financing, cash rebates, or additional payments to dealers. Edmunds said that Chrysler Group led the industry in incentive spending in May at a per-vehicle average of 4,050 dollars, down from 4,250 dollars in April. Ford Motor Co, which expects retail sales to be higher in May, was No. 2 with an average sales incentive of 3,040 dollars per vehicle, Edmunds said. General Motors Corp. was third at 2,963 dollars per vehicle, the report said. Of the major automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T) offered the lowest incentives at an average of 1,140 dollars per vehicle, Edmunds said