Connelly: No rebates on new Nissan models.
Okuda: Makes gesture to help GM compete.
A noble gesture, but it clashes with Toyota's recent behavior. Toyota and other Japanese automakers have been raising rebates in the United States.
Higher rebates from Toyota and others are another source of the increasing pressure on struggling General Motors and Ford Motor Co. The rebates have helped the Asians gobble sales and market share.
Toyota, Lexus and Scion and their finance arm spent 2½ times more on rebates in April 2005 than in April 2004, says Edmunds.com, a research firm that tracks rebates. Nissan and Infiniti spent 21/3 times more on rebates in April.
Asian rebates are highest on vehicles that compete directly with Big 3 vehicles, such as SUVs and pickups.
"When we have new models, such as the new Nissan Xterra, we don't have any incentives," says Jed Connelly, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan North America Inc.
"As for the industry itself, we have to offer some incentives to remain competitive -- we just use them surgically, instead of across the board."
The beauty of their rebates, from the Asians' point of view, is that they have few side effects. Despite the rebates, the resale value of Asian cars and trucks generally is high.
Three-year-old Toyota-brand vehicles retain nearly 55 percent of their value, according to Automotive Lease Guide of Santa Barbara, Calif. A
3-year-old Chevrolet retains 46 percent of its value, and Ford Division vehicles retain 43 percent.
High resale values are a selling point and allow lenders to offer lower monthly lease payments.
You may e-mail Charles Child at [email protected]