As you'd expect from a sales market that's fallen as far as the U.S. automotive industry itself, there are plenty of good deals to be had for the savvy new car shopper. Last month, for example, Edmunds estimates that the average new car last month was available with $2,714 in rebates. That represents a 12.5% average increase over exactly one year ago. The biggest rebates are on leftover 2008 models which themselves accounted for an unusually high 27% of new car sales in January.

Not surprisingly, American manufacturers lead the rebate pack with an average of $3,438 per vehicle sold last month, followed, oddly enough, by European automakers with $3,297. Korean brands averaged $2,963 per vehicle and Japanese brought up the rear with $1,775 in rebates per vehicle. Interestingly, Toyota is at near record levels in monthly rebates as a brand, but it was Chrysler that led all automakers with a whopping $4,196 per vehicle. See the press release after the jump for a further breakdown.

[Source: Edmunds | Image: Tim Boyle/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE:

Edmunds.com Reports True Cost of Incentives; Automakers Spending 12.5 Percent More to Sell Cars

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, estimated today that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,714 per vehicle sold in January 2009, down $148, or 5.2 percent, from December 2008, and up $301, or a dramatic 12.5 percent, from January 2008.

"Automakers need to clear out leftover inventory from the 2008 model year, and that effort is boosting the average incentive cost for the industry," noted Jesse Toprak, Executive Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com. "Last month, 27 percent of all new vehicles sold were from the 2008 model year, while in January 2008 only 12 percent of new vehicle sales were from the previous model year's inventory."

According to Edmunds.com, combined incentives spending for domestic manufacturers averaged $3,438 per vehicle sold in January 2009, down from $3,709 in December 2008. From December 2008 to January 2009, European automakers increased incentives spending by $329 to $3,297 per vehicle sold; Japanese automakers increased incentives spending by $27 to $1,775 per vehicle sold; and Korean automakers increased incentives spending by $197 to $2,963 per vehicle sold.

In January 2009, the industry's aggregate incentive spending is estimated to have totaled approximately $1.9 billion, down 22.4 percent from December 2008. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.1 billion, or 57.5 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $532 million, or 26.8 percent; European manufacturers spent $203 million, or 10.3 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $108 million, or 5.5 percent.

"Incentives will be quite high until 2008 inventory is gone, likely by the end of March," reported Edmunds' AutoObserver.com Senior Editor Michelle Krebs. "Between now and then, bargain-hunters have a great opportunity to pick up an especially good deal."

Among vehicle segments, premium sport cars had the highest average incentives, $5,297 per vehicle sold, followed by premium luxury cars at $5,213. Subcompact cars had the lowest average incentives per vehicle sold, $501, followed by compact cars at $1,422. Analysis of incentives expenditures as a percentage of average sticker price for each segment shows large trucks averaged the highest, 13.7 percent, followed by large cars at 11.9 percent of sticker price. Subcompact cars averaged the lowest with 3.0 percent and sport cars followed with 4.8 percent of sticker price.

Comparing all brands, in January MINI spent virtually nothing followed by Scion at $74 per vehicle sold. At the other end of the spectrum, Lincoln spent the most, $5,594, followed by BMW at $4,965 per vehicle sold. Relative to their vehicle prices, Kia and Mercury spent the most, 16.9 percent and 14.9 percent of sticker price, respectively; while MINI spent virtually nothing and Scion spent 0.4 percent.

Edmunds.com's monthly True Cost of IncentivesSM (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, Edmunds.com 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 Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/)

Edmunds Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site and home to the oldest and most established automotive community. AutoObserver.com launched in 2008 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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