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By David Phillips / The Detroit News

Detroit’s automakers have vowed to put the brakes on rebates this year, but in January, they pushed new car and truck rebates to new highs.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group spent an average of $3,808 on rebates per model last month, up from $3,712 in December and $3,536 for all of 2003, figures released Wednesday by Autodata Corp. show.

Despite the fatter offers, Detroit automakers captured 58.1 percent of January sales — down from 59.1 percent a year ago — as Asian and European brands continued to make inroads in the U.S. market.

At GM, discounts averaged $4,189 last month, up from $3,785 for all of 2003. Ford’s rebates last month reached $3,215, down from $3,233 for all of last year. At Chrysler, January discounts averaged $3,904, up from $3,451 for all of 2003.

Overall, average industry rebate spending fell to $2,751 per model in January from $2,803 in December.

On Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show, Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. said incentives are a fact of life.

“You hear everybody complaining except the customers,” Ford said.
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