Automakers sweetened incentives last month to sell down a glut of 2017 models on dealership lots and make room for 2018 cars and light trucks. But the spiffs won't end there, Edmunds says. Incentives are expected to continue rising through year end.
Replacement demand in Houston, one of the nation's top new-vehicle markets, following Hurricane Harvey helped pushed U.S. light-vehicle sales up 6.3 percent last month to 1,525,522, but it wasn't enough to eliminate a surplus of 2017 models. Last month, only 16 percent of new vehicles sold were 2018 models, compared with September 2016, when 26 percent of vehicles sold were 2017 models, according to Edmunds.
Automakers are rolling out fatter incentives to help dealers clear out 2017 stock. The average new-vehicle incentive in September was $3,506, a record high and a 21 percent rise from a year earlier. Still, the industry's average days-to-turn -- or the number of days a new vehicle sat on a dealership lot before being sold -- was 80, the longest such period since July 2009, when the average new vehicle stayed in a showroom for 87 days. Days to turn in September 2016 was 73, according to Edmunds.