Automotive Manufacturers Can Engage Consumers with Incentives

Those involved in the automotive industry can utilize incentives to achieve a wide array of objectives. Incentives can be valuable no matter what segment you operate in and no matter who your target audience is.

In this blog, we will focus on automotive manufacturers and how they can engage their consumers by offering various cash and non-cash incentives.

Automotive manufacturers looking to increase sales of new vehicles and strengthen existing customer loyalty should look to three distinct incentive program solutions.

Purchase Incentives – Close More Vehicle Sales and Move Product Faster

As an auto manufacturer, the word “incentives” probably means cash back to the customer. Administration is typically most efficient and effective on a prepaid debit card. These cards empower the customer by giving them the freedom to spend their money as they choose.

While cash is helpful in moving inventory and adjusting price levels, non-cash incentives such as merchandise, travel incentives or gift cards are more powerful in sweetening a deal when cash is not enough. By utilizing corporate discounts based on quantity, these incentives can offer a higher perceived value to the recipient while being very low in actual cost to the company. Procuring hundreds or thousands of a particular item will allow your cost per item to come in well under the retail price the consumer would otherwise pay.

Although offering a gift may be appealing to some, it is important to offer a “cash out” option that equals the promotional value of the non-cash items to accommodate those who need the extra cash in-hand to make a down payment and ultimately close the deal.

Gift After Purchase/Customer Loyalty Incentives – Keep Customers Loyal Long-Term

Although most manufacturers feel that cash is the most effective way to sell cars in the short-term, merchandise and travel can be interesting after-purchase gift options to increase the loyalty of your customers in the long-run. Getting caught up in the pressure to sell today and ignore long-term loyalty is understandable, but not wise.

Carefully selected merchandise will allow you to target a very specific demographic of consumers based on their interests and needs. Incentive travel for your most loyal customers can deliver priceless, memorable experiences that are impossible to replicate. Automobile manufacturers that prioritize customer loyalty are already starting to understand that non-cash incentives are crucial.

The following are some rather positive statistics compiled by Incentive Performance Center about these Gift After Purchase/Customer Loyalty Incentives programs.

  • 75% of recipients told others about the gift
  • 30% of those recipients told 4 to 7 people
  • 98% would recommend the brand to others
  • 71% said the gift exceeded their expectations

Loyal customers are great brand advocates. They possess lower selling costs, increased profitability over time and tend to be more willing to pay higher prices for your product. The lifetime value of a loyal customer is truly astounding.

Test Drives – Increase Showroom Traffic and Sales Revenues

There is a direct correlation between the number of test drives taken and the number of vehicle sales. This has been tested in many studies and is widely accepted in the automotive industry. Offering non-cash incentives that directly appeal to your target market is the most effective way to ensure that your budget is being allocated to the appropriate audience.

The incentives should be attractive enough so that your focused demographic is intrigued, but carefully targeted to avoid accommodating a mass number of unqualified individuals that come in to the dealership and waste the time of the personnel with no true interest in making a purchase.

Incentives given in exchange for test drives are an essential component of efforts to effective sales strategies.

In conclusion

As an automotive manufacturer, a fundamental understanding of incentives is paramount. A failure to grasp or deliver incentives successfully simply represents a lost opportunity to achieve greater profitability. While this blog specifically discusses how automotive manufacturers target consumers, future blogs will examine how other automotive audiences can benefit from these programs.

If you’d like to explore this topic further, please read the full study compiled by Incentive Performance Center here, explore how we deliver incentive programs here or send me an email at so that I can provide you more detailed information on any of the topics covered in this post.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Achieve Record Sales Revenues Through Channel Incentive Programs

Channel incentive programs are extremely powerful tools that can enable your company to surpass sales revenue goals. Your dealer owners and channel salespeople represent your bridge to the consumer, and their motivation to push your product over similar competitor offerings can be the difference between making the sale and losing out on potential business.

The two strategies through which you can stimulate sales of your product by your channel members include push and pull strategies.

Push Strategies

Push strategies essentially “push” your dealers to attempt to sell your product over competitor offerings. Every program centers around offering a channel incentive, either to the salesperson or consumer, which compels them to buy your brand.

Implement push strategies such as:

Travel Incentive Programs – Reward those dealership owners and channel salespeople who meet quota or win a competition with exquisitely planned VIP trips. They’ll feel like royalty, appreciated for their efforts, and motivated to succeed in the future.

Merchandise Programs – Engage and incentivize with lower ticket items such as sporting goods, electronics, clothing, and other fun and useful items. Custom branded merchandise leaves a nice personalized feel that increases brand awareness and serves as a constant reminder of your company’s generosity.

Training Programs – It is crucial to invest in training and educating those who are on the front lines trying to push your product. It’s no secret that salespeople who feel confident with knowledge of your product are more likely to suggest and upsell add-ons and premium offerings of your brand.

Pull Strategies

Pull strategies focus on the end user and attempt to inspire them to seek out your product. Instead of incentivizing your channel members, you will incentivize your channel members’ customers.

Space Advertising – Advertise and market your product offerings through direct mail, exhibitions, and other marketing communications that create demand. Strategically and aesthetically pleasing campaigns that utilize the appropriate mediums are crucial for success in this arena.

Rebate Programs – Engage customers by offering limited-time cash rebates to consumers that purchase your product from your distribution channel members. The most cost-effective and timely way to distribute these consumer rebates is by issuing prepaid debit cards. These incentive and reward cards can be set up to be accepted wherever a major provider is accepted or redeemable at a sole retailer.

Web Page Advertising – Outline the value and benefits of products on websites to increase communication. Highlighting benefits, rather than features, and creating professional, functional designs requires marketing, graphics, and web design teams to be involved and instrumental in the process.

Motivating your distribution channel owners and salespeople is a delicate undertaking that requires the attention and experience of specialists in a variety of diverse industries. Outsourcing your program to a company with experts in travel planning, debit card distribution, marketing, web design, graphic design, and printing is one of the best investments you can make. Not only will you come out with a higher quality program, but it will be more cost effective and achieve greater return on investment.

Contact JNR today ( call 800.343.4546) to learn about how our diverse team of experts can reinvigorate your channel incentive program.

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