U.S. automakers offer incentives to cash in on Toyota's woes

It's a tried-and-true practice in the auto sales business: When a competitor is hurting, pump up incentives to lure its customers.

U.S. automakers did just that in February, according to figures released Tuesday by Santa Monica-based, the automotive information site.

While Toyota struggled to regain market share and consumer confidence amid multiple recalls, America's Big Three of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler combined for incentives averaging $3,374 on every new vehicle sold in the United States.

That was nearly $800 more than the nationwide industry average of $2,588 and $397 above what U.S. automakers averaged per new-car sale in January.

GM led the way, with incentives averaging $3,434 in February, up from $2,885 in January.

However, those generous deals were not enough to keep GM ahead of rival Ford, which last month outsold GM for the first time in nearly a dozen years.

Edmunds said incentives on Ford new-car sales in February averaged $3,301, up from $3,039 in January.

Chrysler incentives in February averaged $3,388, compared with $3,008 in January, Edmunds said.

The incentives, however, come with a price.

Edmunds said GM, Ford and Chrysler spent a combined $1.2 billion, or 58 percent of the national total, on incentives last month.

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