Less than two weeks into the 1989 model year, several General Motors Corp. divisions announced Tuesday that they will offer incentives of $300 to $750 on 1989-model cars and trucks.
The announcement by GM’s Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and GMC truck divisions followed Chrysler Corp.'s decision last week to offer rebates of $300 to $1,000 on some of its car, truck and Jeep models. Analysts said it is the earliest ever in a model year that auto makers have offered incentive programs on brand new vehicles. The 1989 year began Oct. 1.
A spokesman for Ford Motor Co., Belden Carroll, said the auto maker is still undecided whether to join its competitors in offering rebates. “In view of the newest information today (Tuesday), we’re studying the situation. I’m sure we’ll take a close look,” said Carroll.
Ford last week announced rebates on some 1988 models.
Each of the Big Three auto makers has aggressive production plans for the fourth quarter, and analysts warned that the schedules might lead to a glut of cars at the end of 1988. The auto makers raised prices at the start of the model year by just under 3% apiece, and said they wanted to wean consumers away from incentives that in the past have cost them $450 per car.
Analyst Michael Luckey of the Luckey Consulting Group said he was surprised by the early move to incentives. He said the action must mean that dealer orders are not keeping pace with the companies’ production forecasts.
“We had been saying they would suffer through a difficult October and part of November before pulling the trigger again,” said Luckey. “They were faced with the age-old decision: Stimulate the market with incentives or cut back on production.”
The GM programs announced Tuesday cover selected 1988 and 1989 models.
GM’s Chevrolet division said it offered rebates of $750 on its Caprice full-sized car and $300-$600 on pickup trucks and the Blazer utility vehicle. The pickup trucks include the Chevrolet CK full-sized truck, the second-most popular vehicle in the United States. The rebate on the Caprice expires Dec. 25, and the others expire Nov. 30.
GM’s Pontiac division offered rebates of $350-$600 on a number of car models, including the sporty Firebird and the full-sized Bonneville sedan. The Pontiac rebates run through Jan. 3.
The auto maker’s GMC truck division offered rebates of $300-$600 on compact and full-sized pickup trucks and the Jimmy S-15 sport utility vehicle. It said its rebates are good through Nov. 30.
Oldsmobile said it offered rebates ranging from $500-$1,000 on most of its autos. The auto maker also announced a special program of $1,000 or low-rate financing to clear leftover 1988 Cutlass Supreme models, part of the GM-10 line of sporty coupes. The Oldsmobile rebates expire Nov. 30.