Honda Motor Co. may have to offer cheaper loans and leases and raise dealer incentives after sales of the Accord and Civic models dropped 21 percent this year.
Last week, Honda had an 8.3 percent sales decline in the United States for January and February compared with a year earlier, reported The Detroit News. The manufacturer has spent 49 percent less than the industry average on incentives in the past four years.
"Spending in the segment from Toyota and Nissan is three to five times what we’re spending," said Andy Boyd, a spokesman for Honda’s U.S. unit. "We’re probably going to have to get in step with that, but we don’t intend to do anything we’re loath to do."
Honda, which doesn't offer consumers cash back on car purchases like some rivals do, still spent a record $2,943 per vehicle last month on incentives, including low-interest loans and cash to dealers, according to CNW Marketing Research, based in Bandon, Ore. That compares with an average $4,423 that CNW estimates automakers offered in February, according to the paper.
CNW's estimate, which Honda doesn't accept, includes the value of added content such as six-disc CD players and alloy wheels the company offers on so-called special edition versions of the Civic, for example, rather than cash rebates.
Honda, which for the past five years has had the highest average profit margin among automakers selling in the United States, spent 33 percent less on incentives in February than the industry average.