Though incentive levels remained essentially flat in May, spending still came in at the second highest rate seen this year.
That’s according to Cars.com data, as the site reported on Wednesday that overall incentive spending in May came in at approximately $2,680 per vehicle.
NADA Used Car Guide also reported on incentive spending this week, noting that spending incentive spending remained essentially flat in May, growing by just 0.3 percent on an annual basis to an average of $2,673 per unit, according to Autodata Corp.
And as the seasonal summer slowdown approaches, incentive spending is expected to remain high throughout June and the rest of the summer, Cars.com predicts, as manufacturers rush to make room for new models.
"Manufacturers are still seeing relatively high inventory levels and are anxious to move metal," said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com. "Consumers will get the most value on any large-vehicle category this summer.
"The most significant inventory surplus is in the large-truck category, and as a result, we are seeing generous incentives from manufacturers and dealer discounting for vehicles such as the Silverado and F-Series. The popular mid-size sedan segment, which has become extremely competitive, is also full of models with relatively high incentives," he added.
Toprak said the industry is in the middle of a "perfect storm for attractive leases," created in part by high resale values and very low interest rates.
NADA UCG senior director of vehicle analysis and analytics Jonathan Banks offered additional analysis on last month’s spending in the latest NADA Guidelines report.
He pointed out that this past month’s minor increase, according to AutoData, was the smallest recorded in almost 18 months and "was also counter to historical trends as more often than not manufacturers push incentives higher in May."
Year-to-date, spending is at an average of $2,650, which is in line with April’s figure.
Though most manufactures are rushing to ramp up spending, Banks said, "Domestic brands continued to outspend their import counterparts on incentives by a wide margin in May."
For example, Buick’s incentive average of $6,024 per unit last month was highest among mainstream brands last month, and almost $4,000 higher than the industry average.
Chrysler came in second place for mainstream brands, with average incentive spending of $5,000.
And though GMC and Volkswagen spent similar amounts in incentives last month, at a combined average of $3,300, Banks pointed out the brand’s trends were headed in opposite directions.
VW’s figures represented a 34-percent increase, while GMC reduced spending by 24 percent last month.
"Incentives on Ford and Ram product was roughly $3,200 per unit, while spending for remaining brands was at or below the mainstream average of $2,700," Banks shared, rounding out the big non-luxury spenders in May.
Subaru, Mazda, Toyota and Hyundai have spent less per unit than other non-luxury brands year-to-date, with spending remaining low this past month.
Moving over to the luxury side of the business, luxury brand spending averaged $3,400 per unit in May, according to the NADA UCG report.
Cadillac led the pack with average spending of $6,156, up 16 percent year-over-year.
Lincoln’s average of nearly $5,500 followed closely behind, Banks said.
And though Infiniti dropped spending by 2 percent, its $4,500 spend per unit in May was still highest among import luxury brands.
Land Rover only spend $674 toward incentives in May, which marks the lowest incentive rate among luxury brands for the month. This was just below Porsche’s figure of $829.