First Quarter 2021 Incentive Spending By Manufacturer

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