Volkswagen led all carmakers with the steepest rise in US incentives in March, raising its sales offers by an average of $US800 per vehicle as it battles both an aging vehicle lineup and the negative impact of a stronger euro, Reuters reported.


According to the report, industry research group Autodata said VW boosted its incentives to an estimated $2,400 per vehicle in March, from under $1,600 per vehicle in February.


But the higher incentives weren’t enough to stop US sales for the combined VW and Audi brands from dropping nearly 12% last month, and 22% for the first three month of this year, Reuters added.


“They’re in a little bit of a rough spot,” Autodata vice president Dave Lucas told Reuters, noting that the bulk of the VW model line is several years old.


Lucas reportedly said Ford’s Volvo brand also raised its incentives sharply in March, by an average of about $600 to about $3,700 per vehicle.


Mercedes boosted its incentives slightly, while BMW and Saab were flat, Lucas told Reuters.


The news agency said Autodata reported that Detroit’s Big Three carmakers still offered the highest incentives in the industry, with an estimated average of $4,033 per vehicle, up about $114 from $3,919 in February.


Reuters noted that the Detroit ‘big three’ all increased incentives last Thursday as the US car companies reported mixed sales results for March.


Analysts told the news agency the new incentives indicated that the US carmakers intended to spend heavily to help boost sales rather than cut production.


Reuters said GM continued to lead all carmakers with an average incentive of $4,266 per vehicle, but its incentives rose only $55 from February, while Chrysler‘s average incentive rose to $4,181 per vehicle, up about $174 from February, and Ford raised its incentives by about $161 to $3,604 in March.


The report noted that Asian brands continued to offer the lowest incentives in the industry, with an average of $1,432 per vehicle in March, up from $1,325 in February.