Curbside Newsstand 2019 US Auto Sales Coverage Kickoff: Sales Down 1.2%, Incentives Up 6.9%, Average Vehicle Cost Up 2% to $34,602

Ford Motors finally reported their December and 4Q sales, so the tallying is complete; the total for 2019 is 17,108,156, which is down 1.2% for the year. CC is going to do a number of posts this week looking at some of the more interesting stories that the numbers tell, but let’s kick off with the numbers overall by manufacturer, and take a look at what is always one of the most important numbers of all: incentives.


No commentary from me on the overall numbers, as we’ll get to some of those later.

Incentives are of course the key driver of both volume and profitably. Manufacturers want to keep their plants running at or near optimal utilization, and incentives is how that’s done, in lieu of strong retail demand. Not surprisingly, incentives (an average of $4,600) were up in December 2019, by 6.9%. That represents 11% of MSRP, the highest since the 2008-2009 recession.

Meanwhile, the average transaction price of a new vehicle in 2019 was $36,602, up $673 from 2018, thanks to continued increases in the sale of more expensive trucks, CUVs and SUVs. And of course the increased use of seven year loans.