General Motors Corp. announced on May 31 it was offering its U.S. customers new incentives to cut short their current leases and buy or lease a new GM vehicle as part of an effort to bolster sales. GM mailed notices to vehicle owners whose leases expire between September and March, informing them that the automaker will waive their remaining lease payments if they buy or lease a new GM car or truck. The Saab, Saturn and Hummer brands are excluded from the program. The program, which began on June 1 and runs until July 15, also allows GM to reap a better price for the returned leased vehicles, which it then auctions off, according to company officials. The GM incentive is the latest move by automakers to fight for market share amid declining industry-wide U.S. sales from last year's record levels. Despite the fresh incentives, U.S. auto sales are expected to slip about 5 percent in May from year-ago levels, with the domestic makers GM, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler arm bearing the brunt of the downturn. According to industry tracking firm Autodata, GM and Ford are averaging about $2,100 in incentives per vehicle, with Chrysler averaging $2,386. Foreign automakers, some of which used to shy away from consumer incentives, are also in the game, with Toyota and Honda, for example, offering incentives as well.