DETROIT - By using the oldest price ploy in the book, General Motors held its introductory increase on 2005 models to $143, about one-half of 1 percent. Mercury used the same method to show a reduction for 2005.
The strategy: Raise prices late in the model year, thereby transferring some of the new-model increase to the outgoing cars and trucks.
It's a graybeard tactic, sort of like the Statue of Liberty play in football, the hidden-ball trick in baseball or the two-handed set shot in basketball.
But it works. In mid-May GM raised sticker prices an average of $157 on its North American brands. That enabled GM to hold the 2005 boost to $143.
Also in May, Mercury stickers went up an average of $66. The 2005 introductory sticker prices show an average reduction of $22.
GMC and Chevrolet trucks were the latest to join the GM parade. Chevrolet's increase averaged $96, and GMC showed a reduction of $4. GMC raised prices an average of $225 in May.
Mercury held the line on the Sable and Grand Marquis, raised the Mountaineer SUV slightly and chopped $200, $300 and $870, respectively, from the three Monterey minivans.
All figures in this report are sales-weighted. They do not reflect additions or deletions of standard equipment.