Automakers perk up incentives

Automakers Perk Up Incentives

Detroit automakers perk up incentives by offering new or extended promotions like zero-percent financing after sales rebound in May. The move is in connection with the findings that higher incentives augmented the previous month’s rebound in the United States vehicle sales after the weak April results. To keep the momentum, the automakers are offering said promotions.

In May, the General Motors Corp.’s average incentive was $2,950 per vehicle and that amount is up by 6.1 percent from the same month last year. GM’s sales increased 9.6 percent and car demand was up nearly 17 percent, with an average car incentive of $2,797.

The Ford Motor Co.’s incentives crept 4.6 percent to $4,040. But that was not a significant milestone for the Dearborn-based automaker which was the only one of the auto giants to report a sales decline of 6.9 percent in May. Ford incentives averaged $3,724 for cars and $4,201 for trucks. The Chrysler Group, on the other hand, increased incentives by 7.1 percent to an average $4,178, which helped fuel a 4.3 percent sales spike for the month. Car incentives averaged $2,530 and trucks $4,855. Industry-wide, incentives averaged $2,692 per vehicle in May, up from $2,548 in 2006.

EBC brake pads could not stop the promotions from gaining traction. GM is extending its Memorial Day incentives. The program includes the zero-percent APR financing for up to 36 months or $1,000 bonus cash and reduced-rate financing on several 2006 and 2007 models, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, Impala, Malibu, 900 series Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe; Buick LaCrosse and Lucerne; GMC Yukon, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL and Yukon XL Denali; Pontiac G5, G6 and Torrent; and the GMC 900 series Sierra.

The plan also covers zero-percent financing for up to 60 months on the 2006 and 2007 Saturn Vue, Ion and Relay, $1,000 cash bonus for active-duty, retired and reserve military personnel who buy select 2006 and 2007 Buick, Pontiac and GMC vehicles. The deal also is available on most Chevy models. The Detroit-based automaker also offers the reduced-rate financing on 2006 and 2007 Cadillac, Hummer and Saab models.

Ford is also offering a bunch of exciting promotions. Purchasers can get $1,000 in bonus cash on a 2008 F-Series Super Duty that can be used in relation with special low-cost financing. The deal is available only on regular and super cab models. The automaker is also offering zero-percent financing for 60 months or $2,000 cash back on the Ford Five Hundred and the Freestyle. The Mercury Montego purchasers can also get the same financing deal or $2,250.

In June, the automaker will also push special no-charge option packages on three vehicles: the 2007 Ford F-150, 2008 Ford Escape and the 2007 Mustang V6. In the F-150 deal, purchasers can choose zero-percent financing for 60 months or $3,000 in cash and will also receive a “Tow and Go” package that includes a 5.4-liter Triton engine, Class IV trailer hitch, seven-pin wiring harness and an upgraded radiator.

With the Escape deal, customers will receive $500 in cash, plus a “Sun and Satellite” package that includes a power moon roof, satellite receiver and 12-month subscription to SIRIUS satellite radio. In regard the Mustang deal, the automaker is giving $1,000 in customer cash plus a free “Pony” package that includes a fancier grille, fog lamps, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, rear spoiler, lower door tape stripes and front fender badges. Ford is also offering a special promotion for all Mercury vehicles that gives customers a free SIRIUS radio and three years of satellite service.

Chrysler did not announce new incentives Friday, but the company is extending its existing offer of zero-percent APR financing for up to 60 months on select models.

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