New incentives offered by Toyota and General Motors have enlivened the US car market in early March, a pace that Web site Edmunds has said is the fastest rate so far this year. Edmunds senior analyst Ray Zhou said that from March 1 to 8, the US seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate was 12.5 million units.
Zhou asserted that this is the highest level since the sudden rise in sales posted in August 2009 due to the cash for clunkers program.
Zhou attributes the surge in sales to the two car firms' generous incentives but he believes that this will eventually cool off and that March will end with a SAAR in the low 11 millions. On March 1, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. started offering 0 percent financing, subsidized lease rates and, for repeat customers, two years of free maintenance.
GM immediately announced its own incentive program to match this offering. The US market share for Toyota's brands (Toyota, Scion and Lexus) widened to 16.8% in early March from 12.8% in February. Zhou also revealed that its daily retail sales rate in early March went up about 71% from February.
GM's Chevrolet brand, which offers similar incentives, expanded its market share to 12.9% in early March from 11.3% in February. Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl shared his opinion that Toyota gets the highest scores because it initiated the offer, and people know that the recall crisis it is currently facing make it ready to deal.