Toyota and Honda lost sales last year when a March earthquake and tsunami forced them to slow their factories. Many dealers ran short of models to sell.
Toyota’s U.S. market share fell 2.3 percentage points last year to 12.9 percent, while Honda lost 1.6 percentage points and ended the year at 9 percent, according to Autodata Corp.
In January, Honda increased incentives such as rebates and low-interest financing by 12 percent from a year earlier, said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends for TrueCar. The company spent $2,258 per vehicle on discounts, and much of the increase went to the midsize Accord, he said.
“It is the highest incentive spending we’ve seen Honda do for Accord ever,” Mr. Toprak said.
Honda wouldn’t say how much it’s spending on incentives, but spokesman Chris Martin said the company is trying to regain sales after last year, when it lost production of more than 200,000 cars and trucks because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand.
Toyota, however, reduced its incentive spending by 2.1 percent to $1,921 per vehicle.
Analysts last year predicted a price war as Honda and Toyota factories came back on line and the companies tried to regain market share lost to Hyundai and the Detroit automakers.
But Mr. Toprak said an all-out war isn’t likely because automakers no longer are producing more cars than people will buy. He expects skirmishes from time to time in certain segments. Automakers could start a price war in the compact car segment because of intense competition.