TOKYO -- Responding to slowing demand in North America, Japan's automakers are boosting incentive spending to dealers and raising production of popular vehicles such as SUVs in their largest money-making market.
Incentive spending across the U.S. market shot up 13% year on year to a record $3,526 per vehicle in October, according to research company Autodata. Japanese carmakers played their part. Nissan Motor lifted incentive spending 19% to $4,236 per auto, Toyota Motor boosted its tally 8% to $2,434, and Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries spent 58% more on incentives at $1,097 per vehicle.
Japanese automakers will also ramp up production of SUVs in response to the market's shift to larger vehicles. Toyota will freeze plans to increase production of its Prius hybrid, and instead boost exports of its RAV4 SUV. Honda Motor will refurbish an Indiana factory so it can also produce its CR-V SUV. And once Fuji Heavy finishes producing on behalf of Toyota, the Subaru maker will lift production of its Outback SUV.
Toyota's sales of its flagship Camry sedan fell 15% on the year in October, while Prius sales tumbled 46%.
Honda downgraded at the end of October its fiscal 2016 sales projection for North America by 5,000 vehicles. Fuji Heavy this month cut its production plans for its U.S. factory by 5,000 vehicles.