General Motors is planning a United States market summer incentive assault that includes special holiday promotions and no-interest financing, the Detroit News reported on Wednesday.

As part of special regional promotions, GM was expected to add another $US500 to existing cash rebates also on Wednesday, the paper added.

“It’s summer sell down time,” GM vice president of advertising and marketing, John Middlebrook, said, according to the report. “We’ve got lots of [2003 model year vehicles] to move out so we’ll be pushing them.”

Spokeswoman Julie Hamp told the Detroit News that GM’s 2003 car and truck inventory stands at about 1.2 million vehicles, well above the company’s target of 900,000 units.

The Detroit News noted that GM found itself in a similar spot last year, which sparked a summer-long promotion offering no-interest financing available for up to five years on most models.

Middlebrook reportedly said the summer programme would likely be similar, but would also feature special holiday promotions tied to the Fourth of July and Labour Day.

The Detroit News said GM was also hoping sales would be stoked by the Federal Reserve Board, which was expected to lower key interest rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday.

GM’s current marketing programme, which expires on July 7, includes no-interest financing on many models and cash rebates up to $4,000, the paper noted, adding that Ford ‘s incentive programme, which expires on July 9, includes no-interest financing and rebates up to $4,000 while Chrysler Group offers rebates of up to $4,500 and no-interest financing until July 31.

The Detroit News, citing Autodata Corporation, said sales of GM vehicles to the end of May were down 6.1% compared with the first five months of 2002 while the company’s market share has also slipped from 28.4% at the end of 2002 to 27%.

Last week, GM North America president Gary Cowger said it looked like the automaker would finish strong in the June sales results to be announced on July 1, the Detroit News added.