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Auto Incentives Dropped 12% In January, But Transaction Prices Fell, Too

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Incentives continued their long, slow decline in January, but according to TrueCar, transaction prices fell, too, which could soften the blow for bargain-hunters.

On average, incentives slipped 12.2% between December 2012 and January 2013, coming to rest at $2,274 per vehicle. The pickings are particularly slim among Asian marques: Honda and Acura had the lowest incentives of any major automaker, hovering around $1,194. Things weren't much better at Hyundai or Kia ($1,243) or Toyota ($1,660).

Detroit, however, was still ready to wheel and deal. The GM family offered January's highest incentives ($3,150), followed by Chrysler ($2,973) and Ford ($2,643). But even so, those totals are a drop from December 2012, when GM offered an average of $3,522 per vehicle.

Meanwhile, transaction prices have also declined -- and as you might expect, the companies with the lowest incentives also boast some of the lowest transaction prices. (Why give it away when you're already giving it away, right?)

At $22,471, Hyundai and Kia had January's lowest transaction prices. Honda and Acura followed a fair distance behind, at $26,898, with Nissan clocking in at $27,702.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, had the highest transaction prices of any major automaker doing business in the U.S., with an average of $33,479. GM followed close behind at $32,846, and Ford came third at $32,598.

Interestingly, Toyota -- which offered some of January's skimpiest incentives -- also had very high transaction prices, averaging $28,403. That could be a matter of Toyota trying to make up for lost ground in 2011 and 2012, or it could be the result of strong Lexus sales, which are up 26.8% compared to January of last year. 

Have you scored a great deal on a new car recently? Or have you paid more than you'd hoped? Let us know in the comments below.

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