Who's winning the rebate race?

Radio commentary
Edward Lapham is the editor of Automotive News

Aug. 17 - Conventional wisdom says that it's a sign of weakness when an automaker uses rebates and other incentives.

After all, rebates suggest swollen inventory and distressed merchandise.

But that's not always true.

For example, the Big 3 have used heavy incentives this year in a fight to keep market share from slipping away to Asian and European carmakers. But some of those international brands use rebates as the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae because we like it.

One report showed that Ford had incentives worth about $2,300 on the Taurus while the Toyota Camry had $1,300, just enough to sweeten the deal.

The result? Toyota stays on track to be the first foreign automaker to take 10 percent of the U.S. market.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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