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Chrysler Discounts Mailed to Millions

December 1, 2006

Auburn Hills, Mich.—In a bid to end a difficult year on a strong note, the Chrysler Group has launched a massive direct mail campaign targeting more than 3 million Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler owners and consumers who drive competing brands, reported The Detroit News.

The Auburn Hills-based division of DaimlerChrysler AG is mailing coupons worth $1,000 to consumers that can be used in combination with existing incentives on many 2006 and 2007 model year vehicles.

The direct mail offers, which are good through Jan. 2, come atop already heavy discounts on Chrysler vehicles.

In November, Chrysler plied customers with $4,224 per vehicle in average incentives, nearly double the industry average, according to Edmunds.com.

Despite deep discounts, Chrysler sales are down 6.8 percent this year through October. Chrysler is expected to see more declines when November sales are released today.

Chrysler's goal is to regain some lost ground in December and reduce its stockpile, which stands at about 500,000 vehicles.

Some vehicles are excluded from the national deal, including the 2007 Chrysler Sebring sedan, Dodge Viper sports car, Dodge Nitro and Jeep Wrangler SUVs and the Dodge Sprinter van. The car-based Jeep Patriot is also excluded, as is Chrysler's high-performance 2006 and 2007 Grand Cherokee SRT-8.

Chrysler, which began sending out the offers to 3.4 million people Nov. 21, is targeting current and past Chrysler owners as well as consumers who have expressed an interest in one of the automaker's three brands.

While Chrysler sent the mail offers to millions of potential buyers, it can probably only expect a small number of buyers to respond, said Jesse Toprak, an auto analyst with Edmunds.com.

"Typically, in a mailing program, your return will be less than 5 percent," he said. "For example, if you send 1,000 people coupons, the return will be 5 percent and less than half of the 5 percent who come to the dealership will end up buying."

Chrysler is taking a wait-and-see approach, McCormick said. The automaker is hoping that the campaign will pay off since it is targeted at specific consumers.

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