The average manufacturer incentive per vehicle sold in the United States was $US2,287 in April 2003, up $581 or 34.1% from April 2002 and up $52 or 2.3% from March 2003, the website Edmunds.com said. On average, vehicles sold 65 days after arriving on dealer lots in April 2003 compared to 64 days in March 2003 and 52 days in April 2002.

Incentives spending for domestic Chrysler, Ford and General Motors nameplates averaged a record high of $3,089 per unit in incentives in April, compared to $1,558 for European manufacturers, $1,432 for the Koreans, and $879 for the Japanese.

Incentive spending continues to have a disproportionate effect on manufacturer market share. Chrysler spent $3000 per incentive in April, up 1.4% from $2960 in March, while its market share went down to 13.3% from 13.9%. In the same period, Ford increased incentives by 8.6% to $2,804 per unit and experienced a minor increase in market share, up to 19.6% from 19.3%. General Motors' incentives spending per unit dropped .4% to $3,334 this month while its market share rose 1.5 points to 27.6%.

Incentives had a somewhat more predictable effect on market share of vehicle segments. Large SUVs had an industry high $3,678 incentives per unit sold in April, up 17.5% compared to the prior month. Simultaneously, US market share of large SUVs increased to 4.9% in April from 3.9% in March. The large pick-up truck segment also saw a jump, up 15% for the month to $2,959 per unit, while that segment's market share went up about a percentage point to 14.2%. Conversely, the luxury car segment's per unit incentive decreased 13.4% to $2,540 in April while market share declined from 4.0% to 3.8%.