General Motors has introduced new incentives to lease vehicles, in its its first major marketing programme following January’s poor US sales results, Reuters reported.

Under the new offer, qualified lessees are eligible for a 48-month lease with no down payment, no security deposit, no first month’s payment and nothing due at the signing of the lease other than tax, title and registration.

Reuters said that most GM cars and light trucks are included in the nationally-advertised programme, which began on February 7 and runs until March 31.

As always, terms and conditions apply and some vehicles are excluded, including the Hummer H1 sport utility vehicle, the Cadillac CTS-V sport sedan, some Oldsmobiles and vans, and certsin Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire small car models.

Reuters noted that company officials said last month that the mantra inside GM is “Fast Start in ’04,” but last week, the carmaker reported a surprisingly weak drop of 2% in US sales while high inventories of unsold vehicles led many analysts to conclude that GM would add more incentives.

Citing dealers, the news agency said GM has also offered other incentives recently to boost sales, including a “combination” programme offering buyers interest-free financing for loans of up to 48 months and cash rebates of up to $US2,000 on select models in some regions of the country.

GM has also sent employees coupons to use or give to friends offering thousands of dollars off the price of a new vehicle in a programme that runs until the end of March, Reuters added.