Following news of an August sales slump and production cut-back for the fourth quarter from Ford Motors [WAMN: 03-Sep-04], it comes as no surprise that the auto giant has upped incentives in order to shift its accumulating stock of unsold vehicles.

Ford's US car and light truck sales last month contained a sweetener in the form of a $3,973 (€3,282; £2,230) rebate. The record discount was almost 8% higher than the previous year's.

As overall incentives for new car purchases climbed 3.4% compared with 2003 according to auto research website, General Motors bucked the trend and slashed its discounts by 11% to $3,981.

Japanese auto manufacturers also cut incentives, to $862 per vehicle, while European carmakers increased money-off deals by nineteen percent.

Ford's Lincoln topped the list for discounts, offering $5,912 per vehicle, causing luxury German brands to feel the pressure and introduce their own competitive deals.

Acknowledging its current high level of incentives, Ford hopes to limit this with the forthcoming introduction of new models. Says the company: "We expect with the new '05 products coming in that our incentives will be lower."

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff