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.



In today’s high-tech world, corporations really need to do a better job of directing their resources appropriately. Many large companies are still allotting significant budgets for both TV and newspaper ads, just as they have been, year after year. The unfortunate reality is that neither print nor broadcast media enjoys the impact on consumers that it did in the past, and that means that much of this sort of advertising messaging is drifting away unnoticed.

Many newspapers are now read online, with a minimum of ads appearing. TIVO and other state-of-the-art technologies have made it possible to fast forward through TV ads, rendering them ineffective. In view of this changing dynamic, it makes good business sense to direct marketing dollars strategically—to those areas where they can provide a better return on your investment. Incentive programs are the perfect option for redirecting a small share of your company’s overall marketing/advertising dollars toward programs that boost incremental sales through strategic program, providing your company with a true ROI. At JNR, we believe that each company would be amazed to see the results of allocating 5% to 10% of their marketing/advertising budget toward a strategically designed incentive program—either using incentive travel or Prepaid MasterCard Reward Cards as the ultimate rewards. Redistributing this modest amount toward unique, memorable, and professionally developed incentive program will have a greater chance of ‘moving the needle’ in the desired direction without impacting your business plan negatively. The benefit of investing in developing a strategic incentive program will be a true ROI, which dollars spent on broadcast and print media cannot provide.

As an organization that has designed and delivered thousands of successful incentive programs throughout our three decades in the service industry, we are here to help you achieve your most ambitious goals. Let us help you customize an incentive program to meet your specific objectives, participants and budget. Feel free to contact me personally at

Jim Jalet
President and CEO, JNR Incorporated

Two Simple Selling Tips For Improving Performance


A long time ago, I attended a seminar about selling. It was meant for those of us who are not natural at it….ice to Eskimos sort of thing. I took two things away from that afternoon. They have stayed with me and caused some changes in my thought processes. I’m hoping you’ll find them valuable as well.

One: Don’t sell to your own pocketbook, sell to the customer’s.

I was young and living month to month financially. It was easy to assume that everyone had a tight budget because that was my personal lifestyle. It took me a while to understand that generally everyone has a budget—it just wasn’t like mine. The seminar speaker said, “Be a good listener, ask questions pertinent to the customer’s life, get perspective, and interpret based on their world.” In other words, learn from them. Don’t have preconceived notions or assumptions, whether they be low or high. Let the customer be the guide in helping to choose the right product for them.

Two: Use the other side of your brain once in a while to get a different perspective.

If you’re right handed, use your left hand instead for a few hours in a row, or for one whole day. Get into bed from the other side. Put on both socks and then your shoes (or one sock/one shoe, then the other). Put the mouse on the other side of the computer. You’ll find you have to stop and think differently about things. What I’ve found is that doing something like this every now and then can break habits, improve decision making and allow for a different—possibly better–approach.

Both ideas are sort of like walking in someone else’s shoes, but still with your own feet! If you give either suggestion credence, please let me know how it impacted your progress! You can email me at

Charlotte Scott
Travel Manager, JNR Incorporated