Incentives plunge -- but are still high

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
It's hard to decide which is more amazing: how much incentives have fallen from a year ago or how high they still are.

For instance, according to Edmunds.com, Chrysler's average incentive was down almost $1,000 per vehicle in May, to $3,115 from $4,101 in May 2009.

The average industry incentive was $2,603, down from $2,943 a year earlier, according to the consumer shopping and research Web site.

Lower inventory makes it possible to cut discounts, Edmunds.com said. On the other hand, as finance managers know, automakers don't dare cut incentives too much when everybody has them.