Market Overview

October Auto Incentive Spending Falls and Sandy Hits Hard, But Monthly Auto Sales Still Strong, Reports


Automotive incentives shrank again in October, even as dealerships continue to ring up healthy sales numbers, reports, the premier resource for automotive information. According to's True Cost of Incentives® (TCI®) report, the auto industry spent $2,124 per vehicle in October, down 3.3 percent from September and down 1.4 percent from October 2011.

“Buyers are ignoring the stagnant incentives and are happily jumping back in to the new car market,” says Sr. Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “It's not like they're getting huge deals on new cars that they couldn't get two or three months ago. They're buying new cars quite simply because they're ready to.”


Average True Cost of Incentives® (TCI®) by Car Manufacturer

Manufacturer Oct-12 Sep-12 Oct-11 Oct 2012 vs Sep 2012 Oct 2012 vs Oct 2011
Chrysler $ 2,683 $ 2,837 $ 2,797 -5.4 % -4.1 %
Ford $ 2,788 $ 2,714 $ 2,840 2.7 % -1.8 %
GM $ 3,037 $ 3,244 $ 3,058 -6.4 % -0.7 %
Honda $ 1,420 $ 1,682 $ 1,292 -15.6 % 9.9 %
Nissan $ 2,134 $ 2,349 $ 2,261 -9.2 % -5.6 %
Toyota $ 1,621 $ 1,733 $ 1,525 -6.5 % 6.3 %
Industry $ 2,124 $ 2,197 $ 2,155 -3.3 % -1.4 % reported in September that incentives fell for the first time in five months, even as the auto industry produced its best monthly SAAR of the year. Just last week, projected that October will deliver the second-highest monthly SAAR of the year at 14.8 million light vehicles, a figure that ultimately may be affected slightly by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Ford was the only manufacturer out of the top six auto companies to increase its month-to-month incentive spending in October. The Detroit automaker's incentive spending climbed 2.7 percent from September to $2,788 per vehicle. Honda's incentive spending fell the most of any major automaker, sliding 15.6 percent from September.

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® (TCI®) 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.

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