Gas Gimmick from Chrysler

Posted by: Jim Henry on May 05, 2008

It remains to be seen whether Chrysler LLC’s “Let’s Refuel America” campaign will create an auto industry sensation like “Employee Prices for Everyone,” or “Zero-Percent Financing,” but the $2.99 per gallon promotion will certainly burn up the airwaves for a while, in an ad campaign, news reports and word-of-mouth.
Chrysler announced today that starting Wednesday through June 2, customers for most of their biggest-selling vehicles can opt for a credit card that locks in gasoline at $2.99 per gallon for three years. For vehicles with a customer incentive, which is to say pretty much all of them, customers can take the present incentive deal as-is, or accept a reduced incentive, plus the gas card.

Here's how it works: the customer who opts for the $2.99 card gets charged the going rate at the pump, but their credit card statement will only bill them for $2.99 a gallon, for regular gas ($3.29 for premium, for cars that take premium). Chrysler will pay the difference.
The deal is limited to 12,000 miles a year for three years, at the EPA-estimated mileage for a particular vehicle. For instance, the entry-level, front-drive Dodge Caliber gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving. That's about 1,384 gallons of gas, for 36,000 miles. According to today's AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the national average price for regular gas was $3.61. At that price, the deal costs Chrysler about $858 for three years. More, if gas goes up. If gas goes below $2.99, the customer simply doesn't use the card.
Gas-guzzling models like the Dodge Viper, or high-performance SRT models are not included.

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Reader Comments

Noz

May 5, 2008 08:49 PM

Makes a lot more sense that the fed gaz tax holiday, a farce with either 'plan'. This might even more a few cars and trucks. If one 'bargains' well down from the MSRP to squeeze the greedy dealer what happens? Here in the SF Bay Area, the fuels are the most costly in the nation-- despite Valero, Chevron, Shell, and perhaps another being within 20 miles or so. 87 octane is about $3.75 @ 'cheapo' Rotten Robbies for crying out loud. Premium is often over $4.00 now. And suckers still use the stuff. I am glad to see the real HOGS are exempt.

Then again, there is still the low-reliability rep of most Chrysler vehicles, the dying PT being the exception. Jeeps are terrors in terms of stuff breaking right and left.

Can't help wondering how this scheme will flu...

no

May 5, 2008 09:13 PM

the idiots out there will be all over this.

Floyd Reynolds

May 6, 2008 11:41 AM

I would like to see more Car Companies come up with ideas like this.
I would also like to see The big motor companies make a deal with the government to promote more Natural gas stations with the motor companies furnishing a conversion kit. The govern,ment could subsidise The service stations.

Scambuster

May 7, 2008 04:59 AM

So this is the best Mr. Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot, can do for Chrysler? He is insulting the intelligence of the American car consumer because it is obvious that the dealer will adjust the final sales price to reflect the $2.99/gal incentive. Also, by restricting 12,000 miles per year for 3 years, the saving is meaningless. Instead of reducing the price of its cars because they are rated as inferior products according Consumer Report, Chrysler is trying to prop up their sticker-prices with gimmicky $2.99/gal rebate. Instead of resorting to gimmicks, Chrysler is better off re-designing and building better cars. Chrysler is straggler when it comes to using modern engine technology. Chrysler is the last of the Big3 to finally introduce this year an efficient 4Cylinder with VVTI. In prior years Chrysler, with no new engine, attempted to boost sales by emphasized its old larger displacement engines. Example: the retro Hemi, or variants of its old V8-440/318 CID. It is shameful that Nardelli can stoop so low as to think Americans can't see thru his scam. The once mighty Chrylser is now reduced to this: Its leadership apparently has given-up on product development and in its place resorted to cheap tricks. The Big2 is coming.

Mark Salinas

May 7, 2008 02:39 PM

Why not? It will probably boost sales and continue to remind people how important alternative fuel solutions are.

Mark Salinas, Mn

SunnyvaleCA

May 7, 2008 04:47 PM

It seems to me that customers who believe fuel prices will continue to rise will purchase something more efficient than what Chrysler offers and customers who believe fuel prices will subside will not consider the gas deal to be worth anything.

If I owned a gas station I'd set my fuel price at $8/gallon and give customers a free car wash when they filled up. What does the fine print say about this and is there an escape clause where Chrysler can wiggle out of obligations is the price of fuel does--legitimately--hit $8?

ExposingTheIdiotCEO

May 10, 2008 05:19 AM

This $2.99/gal gimmick has exposed Chrylser's CEO, Nardelli, his incompetence. Unsuccessful in selling sedans profitably in the past decade, Chrysler has placed almost all its bets on truck sales. With its inefficient out-dated engines generating lowest mpg of the Big3, and gas reaching for $5/gal, Chrysler's game plan collapsed. During this crisis, Nardelli's best effort is this $2.99/gal scam. It is becoming quite obvious that the business world has over praised Nardelli. Without considering the minimal competition from such firms as HomeClub and ACE hardware stores, the corporate world has imprudently lavished kind words about Nardelli's performance while he was HomeDepot CEO. GE's CEO Jack Welsh(himself an overrated CEO)said Cerberus had "hit a home run" by selecting Nardelli as CEO of Chrysler. The $2.99/gal scam suggests that Nardelli not only hit a foul ball but also struck-out swinging.

TVann

May 10, 2008 01:06 PM

It is a very smart marketing move as most consumers are looking for alternatives to the fear of rising fuel costs. Will it save the consumer money over accepting free fuel instead of other incentives? It will depend on the driving habits of that consumer. Chrysler's vehicles are getting better and better and its leadership seems poised to run the marathon of auto manufacturer competition.

Ronda

May 19, 2008 09:50 AM

The goal of this advertising "gimmick" (as you are calling it) is to create a buzz along with sales. Chrysler wants to people to talk about the promotions in chat rooms, at the office, etc. Which is exactly what you are doing here and I am guessing with your friends and co-workers. The advertising "gimmick" is working, so keep chatting.

Paul

May 21, 2008 04:58 PM

Tell you the truth, i think that the
$2.99 dollar gas deal is a great program to get people to buy their cars. But the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep line of cars is considered to be of the worst cars that you can buy. Most of the cars are low quality, and don't seem to last much past 100,000 miles. Take the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan for instance, everything feels cheap as if it is going to break, such as the turn around middle row seats ,and the add in table. The Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep cars don't very good gas milage compared to other cars. For example the 2008 Honda Odyssey gets 19 city miles to the gallon, and 26 highway miles to the gallon, whereas the 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans only get a mire 13 city miles to the gallon, and only 19 highway miles to the gallon. All in all, the $2.99 dollar gas deal is great, but it's not worth it because of the poor quality of the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep line of cars, and the terrible gas millage they get. Remember, you only 12,000 miles of $2.99 gas each year.

Jason

May 25, 2008 10:27 PM

This is a great idea, Jeeps sales are suffering the most because of high fuel consumption ratings. This will let people forget about the high gas and pay 3/gallon, such a great idea. Chrysler is pretty smart, too bad there cars are all garbage...

Ed Williams

July 9, 2008 03:10 PM

So far it is a scam. We bought a Journey on May 9, executed all the paperwork and enrolled in the plan. As of July 9, two months later, we have yet to see the card and I was told it may take another two weeks to get here. Sounds like the same people running this are moonlighting at Immigration.

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