DETROIT -- General Motors' August incentive programs are more expensive and more extensive.
Cash rebates have been raised to as much as $5,000 on 2004 cars and $6,000 on 2004 trucks in some regions; the payments formerly were $4,000 and $5,000. They include owner loyalty cash.
The payments didn't help in June, which was a miserable month for GM. But they kicked into high gear in July as GM sold 80,580 more cars and light trucks than it did in June.
GM's August incentives have been broadened to cover a wide array of 2005 models. Rebates on 2005 models are lower than on the 2004s. The 2005 model rebates are generally $500 to $1,500, although the Chevrolet Blazer brings $2,000, and Pontiac offers top bonuses of $2,000 on the Bonneville, $2,500 on the Sunfire and $3,000 on the Montana.
Cut-rate financing, starting at 0 percent, is offered on both 2004s and 2005s.
With the lower rebates and a 2005 introductory price increase of about 1 percent, the industry is watching GM closely. The question, which only GM can answer: Is an era of lower incentives dawning?
At Ford Motor Co., the Mercury Sable has been removed from the rebate list. The Ford F-series Super Duty pickups have cut-rate financing of 2.9 percent to 6.9 percent.