DETROIT - It was General Motors' turn to play catch-up in the price game, and it responded by raising stickers for the fourth time in the 2003 model year.
But GM couldn't match the Chrysler brand, which tacked on its sixth increase since the end of the 2002 model year. Ford Motor Co. sits right in the middle with five increases on 2003 vehicles.
But the boosts fell far short of the amount the companies are paying in incentives to sell their cars. For example, Automotive News estimates the latest price bump on Chrysler-brand cars averaged $82 on a sales-weighted basis, and the half-dozen increases have totaled about $444.
Customer rebates on most 2003 Chrysler-brand cars are $2,500 to $3,000. Chrysler also is paying $1,000 on some 2004 cars.
GM raised its car prices an average of $83, Automotive News found. That is about one-third of 1 percent.
By makes, the car hikes averaged $279 for Cadillac, $104 for Buick and Oldsmobile, $71 for Chevrolet, $29 for Pontiac and $6 for Saturn.
As part of its latest price increase, GM hiked the freight charge on 16 of its 22 car lines. The boosts ranged from $15 to $45. The Cadillac CTS (now $695) was socked with the highest boost. GM's car freight charges range from $560 on the Pontiac Vibe to $795 on the Cadillac Seville and DeVille. Highest of all is $815 on the Cadillac Escalade.
In addition to the $82 average price increase on Chrysler cars, some 2004 Dodge cars have risen $74. That means an average hike of $78 on Chrysler group cars, according to Automotive News.