Associated Press reports that despite last-minute clearance sales at Ford and GM, the nation's two largest automakers, Detroit's Big Three carmakers spent less on consumer incentives in September than in August.
 
The report said that GM led the industry with an average outlay of $4,340 a vehicle last month, down $39 from August, according to Autodata Corp. Nevertheless, GM saw its new vehicle business climb a surprising 20.5 percent and helped the industry post a 6 percent rise in sales for September after a sub-par August.

The AP report added that Ford spent an average of $3,808 a vehicle in September, down $146 from August.

At DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, incentive spending declined by $237 a vehicle from August to September for an average outlay of $3,628.
 
GM and Ford both offered no-interest, six-year loans on most remaining 2004 models last week, but the fine print excluded adding bonus cash or other rebates on to the loan deals, limiting the costs of the programs, Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Chris Ceraso said in a research note Tuesday, AP reported.

But the promotions certainly created traffic for dealers, the report added.

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