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A sluggish sales month in April for Detroit automakers is turning out to be good news for consumers now in the market for a new car or truck.

After pulling back on incentives last month, Ford, GM and Chrysler have all recently rolled out new discount programs, or extended offers already in place, to move more metal and maintain market share.

The trend underscores the difficulty automakers face trying to wean customers off rebates and low-rate loans, and how necessary the discounts are to remaining competitive.

In April, the average incentive on vehicles from Detroit’s Big Three was $3,961, down from $4,033 in March, but up from $3,310 in April 2003.

The industry average fell to $2,994, from $3,209 in March. But the pullback stalled U.S. auto sales, which grew just 0.8 percent last month.

At the same time, slower-than-expected auto sales so far this year have left some manufacturers with too many cars and trucks, forcing them to show buyers the money to clear dealer lots and make way for 2005 models.

This week, Ford Motor Co., whose April sales fell 4.6 percent compared to last year, began offering a $1,000 rebate and free financing for up to 60 months on Freestar minivans and Explorer, Excursion and Expedition sport utility vehicles.


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I just don't get it. The big three are seeing a downward slide in sales, so what do they do? Increase base prices constantly, a monthly event these days, and then pour on these silly incentives that keep driving the price of used cars down in value! No i think the real culpret is the terrible economy we live in with gas through the roof at over $2.00 a gallon, a gallon of milk costs $3.00, property taxes are higher than ever and whatever you buy these days costs an arm and a leg. The average guy is getting afraid to spend outrageous sums for a new car or truck cause he doesn't know if he's gonna have a job tomarrow. The trend is save, save, save, cut, cut, cut. Heck Chevy is doing it with there cars by elimanating trunk locks, door locks and trim moldings, and so are lots of americans too. We live in inflation heaven so I don't see sales going through the roof anytime soon unless things change.
 

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Originally posted by ponchoman49@May 6 2004, 12:17 PM
We live in inflation heaven so I don't see sales going through the roof anytime soon unless things change.
Uhhh... where have you been living? There are signs of SOME inflation in CERTAIN segments, but is no data to support "inflation heaven".

Check out ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt if you don't believe me.

Mark
 

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Coulda fooled me, i'm paying more for everything and not getting enough raizes to keep up with the inflation. Gas is over double, groceries are on the rise, taxes are going up, health care is increasing, companies all over are laying off and slimming down, car prices are through the roof, (your average transaction is now $30k) according to Cars.com, tolls are higher, heck even a value meal at McDonalds has gone up. About the only thing that hasn't gotten higher is finance charges. I live in Upstate, NY and have lots of family, friends and relatives that are all feeling the pinch! No one I know is even thinking of buying a new car right now!
 

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The first thing that should be cut from anyone's budget when in uncertain financial times is extraneous purchases such as fast food. I agree that milk is more expensive, but this is not even related to inflation. Or did you fail to see any of the news reports explaining why that is happening?

Health care costs have never gone down or remained stagnant. They always go up, because the insurance industry has a rediculously unfair grip on this country's medical establishment.

Average vehicle purchase price doesn't mean a damned thing, because there are a lot of people out there who can afford to waste money on an H2, Expedition, Excursion, Viper, GT, Ferrari, etc etc as daily drivers. There are also a lot of people out there who are buying much more reasonably priced cars. When you have a choice of cars ranging in price from $12,000 (less with some of the Korean and Asian brands) on up, I don't think you have justification in saying that inflation is making you not want to buy a new car. Fear of not having a job tomorrow, perhaps, or simple bad financial planning on your put (ie. not having anything saved for a down payment), but not inflation. The only "inflation heaven" going on is in your head. The more people that continue thinking the economy is in the ****ter, the more it will actually be in the ****ter. So many people don't grasp that public perception is what controls the economy. The markets plunged after 9/11 because a little thing called consumer confidence dropped like a rock. That's based on what people feel is the strength of their economy. Other than the travel/tourism industry and the individual companies physically attacked that day, no other sectors of the economy were in any danger. But the general public didn't know how to react (understandably so), and thus the markets took massive hits.

The fundamentals (the real-world hard facts and data points) of the economy are strong. Continue believing otherwise, and you only contribute to your own problems.
 

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Originally posted by ponchoman49
car prices are through the roof
$30K per vehicle is poor financial mgmt by people,
not because there are not better options out there.
I have been shopping around for a new car for the
wife (she wants an SUV). Found an SUV for $20K.
250-hp, 28 mpg highway and five star crash rating.
But some people will pay $35K for less. And why?
I have no idea. I'm guess a combination of trying
to impress others and a lack of financial planning.

My health care premiums actually went down earlier
this year. It was only a couple bucks per check, but
it was in the downward direction. :)
 
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