First Quarter 2021 Incentive Spending By Manufacturer

Image Credit: iQoncept/

Incentive spending by the automakers was down across the board in the first quarter of this year, with the one exception being Subaru, that still spent by far the least amount of money per vehicle.

It is interesting to me to watch Subaru. The little car company just came off the best quarter in its history, yet spent way less than half the money in incentives as all the others. The lesson here: Build vehicles people want to buy, make them safe and durable, and price them right. If you do that, people will buy your product.

Average spending for just the month of March was just under $3,500 per vehicle, down $880 from the first quarter of 2020, a signal of increasing demand, lower inventory levels, and the anticipated boost in sales from stimulus checks.

Here is the amount spent by automakers, per vehicle, in the January through March 2021 time frame.

BMW$5,058Down 15%
Ford$4,818Down 14%
Nissan$4,519Down 10%
Daimler-Benz$4,015Down 34%
VW$3,981Down 10%
Kia$3,854Down 19%
Stellantis$3,562Down 24%
Hyundai$2,671Down 28%
Toyota$2,596Down 2%
Honda$2,342Down 18%
GM$2,296Down 11%
Subaru$1,349Up 1%
INDUSTRY AVG$3,490Down 16%
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