For only the third time in the last 20 years, average first-year base salaries for 2001 paid to OEM sales personnel have declined, says the annual survey produced by Southfield, MI-based Giacomin Group. The other years were 1987 and 1993. The average for 2001 paid to individuals who accepted Detroit-based positions was off $960 to $73,200, or about 1.3% less than 2000.

The figures, according to survey author Joseph Giacomin, are compiled on experienced (typically 5+ years) sales professionals calling directly on auto manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers.

Management, support personnel and entry-level candidates have been excluded from the survey. Salary figures do not include bonuses, commissions, company vehicle/allowances, expenses or benefits. Job titles surveyed under the heading of sales personnel include sales/account representatives, sales engineers, account managers, account executives and program/unit managers, Giacomin says.