A new study by Maritz Automotive Research study finds that incentives and rebates are having a lessening impact on automobile purchase decisions. Maritz' 2004 New Vehicle Customer Study (NVCS) reports that while the average size of rebates and incentives has grown 10 percent year-over-year since 2002, consumers seem to be more blasé about incentive offerings, and manufacturers seem to be getting fewer long term benefits. According to the Maritz study, auto consumers report the average dollar amount of the rebates and cash incentives continues to grow, while the cost to manufacturers as a percentage of the total new vehicle prices continues to grow also. The biggest jump occurred with domestic manufacturers who increased incentives/rebates from about $2,000 in 2002 to close to $2,800 in 2004. The Maritz study also reports that customer perceptions of their vehicles are not swayed by a rebate or cash incentive. In fact, satisfaction scores with new vehicles are flat for the three years investigated. The decline from 2002 to 2004 is most evident among domestic manufacturers with only 30 percent of customers in 2004 citing incentive/rebate as a reason for purchase timing, down from 40 percent in 2002.
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