SANTA MONICA, Calif. — BMW’s increased incentive spending in December may not be enough to hold off Mercedes-Benz in 2011’s battle for luxury car sales supremacy, reports Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. BMW led Mercedes-Benz by 1,582 vehicles in the U.S. luxury sales race through November, but according to Edmunds.com’s December sales forecast, Mercedes-Benz is expected to pull ahead to finish the year over BMW by about 1,100 vehicles.
An analysis of Edmunds.com’s True Cost of Incentives® (TCISM) shows that BMW made a stronger appeal than Mercedes-Benz to luxury car buyers looking for a good deal in December. BMW raised its incentive spending more than $200 to $3,694 per vehicle sold from November to December, while Mercedes’ average spend remained virtually flat at $3,174. The average discount percentage on a new BMW in December was 11.2 percent off MSRP, compared to 9.5 percent off MSRP for a new Mercedes.
BMW/Mercedes-Benz Year-End Incentives and Discount Percentage
True Cost of Incentives®
Discount Percentage (off MSRP)
Percentage Point Change
According to an Edmunds.com sales mix analysis, 23.6 percent of BMWs sold in December were 2011 model year vehicles, compared to just 5.6 percent for Mercedes-Benz. The discrepancy is most likely attributable to the availability of the two brands’ popular entry-level sedans: Mercedes-Benz has already launched its 2012 C-Class sedan, while the 2012 BMW 3 Series sedan won’t be available for at least another two months.
“The 2011 luxury sales race might as well be a battle of the deal-seekers versus the trend-setters,” says Edmunds.com Analyst Ivan Drury. “In one corner, you have great deals available on BMW’s remaining 2011 3 Series vehicles, and in the other corner is a fresher product with the 2012 C-Class. But since luxury car buyers notoriously crave the newest models, Mercedes-Benz could have the advantage.”
Big Six TCISM
Among the Big Six automakers, Honda showed the most month-to-month movement in incentive spending. The Japanese automaker closed its challenging 2011 with an increase of 7.2 percent from $1,181 in November to $1,266 in December.
Chrysler, meanwhile, closed 2011 on a symbolic note. Its well-documented marketing and sales success this year led to far less reliance on incentive spending in December; the automaker’s TCISM was down 26.8 percent last month compared to December 2010.
Average True Cost of Incentives® (TCISM) by Car Manufacturer
|Dec 2011 vs. Nov 2011||Dec 2011 vs. Dec 2010|
Bucking the trend, General Motors stepped back its month-over-month incentive spending in December, dropping its average TCISM 1.2 percent to $3,346. The auto industry spent an average of $2,314 on incentives in December, up 1.8 percent over November, but down 8.8 percent from December 2010.
Edmunds.com’s monthly True Cost of Incentives® (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.
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Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its revered mobile site and five-star app makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. Its automotive enthusiast Web site, InsideLine.com, is the most-read car publication of its kind. Its highly regarded mobile site and app features the wireless Web’s highest quality car photos and videos. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com onTwitter@edmunds and like Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/