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.

Auto Consumers Love Rebate Cards

Enticing car buyers to make purchases with incentives is not a new concept. It has long been known that those in this market can be swayed based largely on what they receive in return for their purchases of products and services. The most crucial choice in this process lies in deciding on the most effective type of incentive to offer. Cash back rebates on prepaid cards and discounted prices are the two most common ways to incentivize consumers. Which of these is most appealing to the buyer?

A new auto study published in Incentive Magazine by Deanna Ting surveyed 1,300 U.S. consumers. It showed that auto shoppers are more motivated to make car or tire purchases, take test drives, or book car services when offered cash back rebates—typically administered on prepaid cards—not discounted prices.

This logic is not difficult to understand when you consider that a $1,000 rebate on a prepaid card at the time of purchase is much more appealing than the same value discounted over the life of an automotive loan. Saving $1,000 on the final price of the car will result in a miniscule decrease to the monthly payment over the life of even a short three-year loan. Additionally, people naturally enjoy instant gratification over delayed payoffs.

Further findings from this survey:

  • Rebates encourage test drives – The survey showed that a $500 after purchase rebate in addition to a $50 prepaid card is the most compelling formula for increasing the number of test drives taken.
  • Incentives strengthen service loyalty – Consumers said they would change their behavior and remain loyal to a particular dealer if they were given a $100 prepaid card for every year of service at that dealership and a $10 prepaid card for every service performed there. This is a fundamental way to ensure that your customers remain loyal to your dealership over others.
  • Prepaid cards are the best incentive for tire shoppers – A $50 prepaid card is the strongest motivator for those in the market for tires. Surprisingly, it is even more effective than a $60 gift card, a free year of oil changes, and even $300 worth of discounts on future tire services. Again, instant gratification wins out over future savings.

In light of these revelations, prepaid rebate cards should be a prominent part of your 2014 strategy for improving automotive revenues and increasing the loyalty of your customer base.

For more information on why prepaid debit cards are so effective, check out our free whitepaper on prepaid debit cards:

By JNR Corp

Written by Kristopher Hewkin