DETROIT - In the wacky world of incentives, U.S. carmakers are waiting for someone to drop the other shoe.
That is, they are watching the competition to see who will make the next big move, because they darn well don't want to make it themselves.
That was the story last week as General Motors, Ford Motor Co., the Chrysler group and half a dozen import brands disclosed their plans for May. The big change was that there was no change.
Just about every incentive program expired Monday, May 2. Most have been renewed, though the majority of the renewals are only for May. The Big 3 usually announce programs lasting two or three months. That is another indication that everyone is waiting for somebody else to do something.
Although the makers did not throw extra cash at their 2005 vehicles, buyers will not be left empty-handed this month. Dodge is paying $4,000 on the Durango SUV, and rebates of $3,000 are common among the Big 3.
Among the nameplates carrying that lure are the Ford F-series Super Duty pickup, Lincoln LS sedan and Mercury Monterey minivan. Members of GM's $3,000 Club are the 2005 Chevrolet Venture minivan, Impala sedan, Monte Carlo coupe and Blazer SUV and Pontiac Montana minivan.
Ford Division upgraded a few rebates for May. The Excursion is worth $2,500, up from $1,000 to $2,000, and the Econoline full-sized van and Thunderbird were added to the list. The givebacks are $2,000 on the T-Bird and $1,500 on the Econoline.
April incentives were extended with little or no change by Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Nissan.