Quite a few companies are ranting and raving against consumer incentives these days.
They're wrong, and they had better get used to incentives in the auto industry.
There has never been a better time to buy a car. Today, many deals are available, whether the customer is looking for a rebate, a good deal on a lease or low-interest financing.
If someone has another great idea that might motivate the American consumer to buy another car, it will be in the works immediately.
The U.S. market is unique, and it would be risky to try to adapt foreign marketing concepts to this competitive environment. It would be just as big a mistake to try to use U.S. marketing techniques in other markets.
With all the difficulties, this year's U.S. market is going to be one of the strongest in history. We are accustomed to sales numbers that just a few years ago would have been considered staggering. We are getting used to exceeding 16 million sales a year.
It doesn't sound right when manufacturers complain about how much it costs to be competitive in this market and say they can't make enough profit.
Consumers don't care about a company's ability to make what it considers a decent profit. Car dealers across the country are making money and achieving sales that would have been impossible 10 years ago. That's today's business.
Incentives and rebates will be part of the U.S. marketing scene for consumer products forever - not just for cars but for everything. Retail incentives have been a part of automotive marketing for nearly 30 years, and wholesale incentives have been around much longer than that.
Chances are good that rebates and incentives will continue and that dealers will enjoy the power of those tools.
The only way to avoid them is to have products that are so popular that no incentives are necessary. If you don't have those popular products, add incentives. One option is to price your products high enough to cover the incentives. No one in the auto business seems to be doing that yet although it's common in the packaged goods business.
This is a good time to be a consumer. Don't complain because the manufacturer is giving the customer a great deal. That position won't fly. It sounds disingenuous.