Chrysler Tries a Gas Gimmick to Spur Sales
Will the other manufacturers follow?
By Brendan Moore
In a plan announced to dealers earlier today, Chrysler LLC will allow U.S. consumers to lock in their personal gasoline prices at $2.99 a gallon for three consecutive years under a new incentive program. The offer is launching at a time when Ram trucks and SUVS are piling up on dealer lots due to rising oil prices and consumer sentiment that believes that gasoline will be $5 a gallon sometime in 2009.
The U.S. automaker, which has watched sales plummet by almost 18 percent so far this year, said it would offer anyone buying one of its vehicles a pre-paid card that could be used to cap fuel prices at $2.99 per gallon for three years. Details are still sketchy about how much annual mileage will be allowed under the plan, but it appears Chrysler will probably cap miles driven at 12,000 annually. It is not known how Chrysler will track mileage.
Buyers of Chrysler vehicles can opt for low finance rates, rebates, or the gas price protection plan. Customers enrolled in the gas program will pay the pump price the day they refuel, but their card will be charged only the $2.99 per gallon amount. Chrysler and its vendor partner on the project, Dallas-based Pricelock, will then electronically split the invoice at the time of sale. Chrysler will be charged back whatever the difference above $2.99 per gallon is at that particular point of sale. Which I guess also means no more searching for the lowest priced gas where you live.
“Today we are proud to introduce an unprecedented program to help put customers’ minds at ease and do something to help working people who are worried about the volatility of fuel prices and vehicle cost of ownership,” Jim Press, vice-chairman and president, Chrysler LLC said late Monday.
“This could be a game-changer in terms of how vehicles are sold in the marketplace,” Chrysler’s head of North American sales, Steve Landry, told reporters.
That might be a pretty optimistic statement on behalf of Mr. Landry, but, hey, he’s in there pitching. The marketing campaign is called “Let’s Refuel America” and it starts Wednesday (May7) and through June 2, 2008.
Chrysler’s official press release:
Chrysler LLC Delivers Economic Stimulus; Protects Consumers from Rising Gas Prices for Three Years
– “Let’s Refuel America” available throughout the U.S. exclusively at
Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge dealerships through June 2, 2008
– Three-year price protection from volatile gas prices available on
compact, mid-size and full-size models, minivans, crossovers and pickup
– Seventy-six percent of customers cite rising gas prices as “top concern”
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 5 /PRNewswire/ — In response to direct
customer feedback citing the prospect of rising gas prices as a top
concern, Chrysler LLC today announces its own economic stimulus package: an
exclusive gas price protection policy that eliminates the risk of further
spikes in fuel prices. With the U.S. purchase of eligible Chrysler, Jeep
and Dodge vehicles, customers can enroll in the “Let’s Refuel America”
program and receive a gas card that immediately lowers their gas price to
$2.99 a gallon, and keeps it there for three years. The offer is available
at 3,511 U.S. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships through June 2, 2008,
and is available on vehicles ranging from popular new compacts, crossovers
and minivans to full-size diesel-powered pickup trucks.
“Today we are proud to introduce an unprecedented program to help put
customers’ minds at ease and do something to help working people who are
worried about the volatility of fuel prices and vehicle cost of ownership,”
said Jim Press, Vice-Chairman and President, Chrysler LLC. “The Let’s
Refuel America Price Guarantee puts money in your pocket today, and allows
our customers to better manage their fuel expenses. And you can’t get it
anywhere else besides a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge dealership.”
The Let’s Refuel America program offers consumers a combination of the
fuel price protection program and additional bonus cash up to $3,000 on
available vehicles, including Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Charger, Jeep
Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dakota and Dodge Ram.
Consumer Economic Solutions
Chrysler has a number of solutions to help our customers during these
tough economic times. “Chrysler is committed to providing the best value,
and the least worries, for our customers,” said Press.
Chrysler’s lineup includes five models for under $20,000 that get 28
miles-per-gallon or better on the highway. To protect consumers from
unexpected repair costs in the future, Chrysler models come with the
industry’s best powertrain warranty, covering the original owner for the
life of the vehicle. And Chrysler has made a number of its most popular
options standard on its New Day Package vehicles.
Fuel Economy Solutions
Chrysler currently offers six models that get better than 28 miles-per-
gallon on the highway: Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Sebring Convertible,
Dodge Avenger, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and Dodge Caliber. Through April,
the six of these models combined have higher sales than in the first four
months of 2007.
The recently-launched 2009 Dodge Journey comes with an available 173-hp
four cylinder engine, helping it achieve best in class fuel economy.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel 3.0-liter engine provides a
class-leading driving range of approximately 450 miles and gets an
estimated fuel economy of 18 miles/city and 23 miles/highway for 4×2 models
and 17 miles/city and 22 miles/highway for 4×4 models. Outside of North
America where fuel-saving diesel engines are in higher demand, Chrysler
offers 17 models with diesel powertrains.
This fall, Chrysler will launch in the United States, two new hybrid
SUVs, the Dodge Durango Hybrid and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, boasting a fuel
economy improvement of more than 25 percent overall, and 40 percent in the
city. In 2010, the Dodge Ram Hybrid will reach the market.
Chrysler is currently in the midst of a $3 billion powertrain
investment offensive to develop new fuel-efficient powertrains and axles
for our next- generation models.
Chrysler supports the federal government’s new dramatically increased
CAFE fuel economy standards, which will increase fuel efficiency by an
average of 40 percent by 2020. Recently, Chrysler joined the US Climate
Action Partnership, working to find solutions to global greenhouse gas
Customer Advisory Board
In February, Chrysler created the industry’s first Customer Advisory
Board to encourage a direct dialogue with customers and gather insight and
feedback. A recent Advisory Board survey generated the following results:
– 76 percent of the community is “very concerned” or “extremely
concerned” about fuel prices.
– 83 percent of the community responded that fuel prices will affect
their summer vacation plans.
(Note: the poll shows that 19 percent responded “extremely”, 22 percent
responded “very much”, 30 percent responded “somewhat”, and 12 percent
responded slightly, 17 percent responded that it won’t affect their
The Let’s Refuel America gas card program works when a customer
purchases a new and unused Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle and selects the
program in lieu of other available incentives. The customer is provided
with the registration process documentation and registers providing their
required personal information via the dedicated web site or toll-free 800
number. Once registered, the customer receives their gas card and
separately, their Personal Identification Number (PIN) within 4 to 6 weeks
of application. The customer then swipes their Let’s Refuel America Gas
Card at an eligible gas station, selecting up to 87 octane regular, E85
fuel or diesel fuel, and enters their PIN to begin the fueling process.
After the fuel transaction occurs, the customer’s personal credit card
(identified in the registration process) is charged $2.99 per gallon.
Let’s Refuel America Eligibility
The following vehicles are eligible for the Let’s Refuel America program:
Dodge Caliber, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Sebring Convertible
Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum
Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country
Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass
Dodge Nitro, Jeep Liberty
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen
Dodge Dakota, Dodge Ram, Dodge Ram HD
The following vehicles are not eligible for the Let’s Refuel America
program: All SRT models, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Ram Chassis
Cab, Chrysler Crossfire, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Sprinter.
Select Program Offer
– $2.99 guaranteed fuel card for up to 3 years
– Offer valid with up to 87 octane regular unleaded fuel, E85 fuel or
diesel fuel only, depending upon purchased vehicle*
– Yearly allotment of gallons provided
– Annual gallon allotment ends each year on 7/31 (first year ends
– Easily register via a dedicated web site or by calling designated 1-800
– Personalized Let’s Refuel America Gas Card arrives within 4-6 weeks of
receipt of application
Use & Save
– Use the Let’s Refuel America Gas Card like any credit card – just swipe
and type in your PIN to use
– Check account transactions online
* If mid-grade or premium unleaded fuel is purchased, the customer will
be billed for the $2.99 plus $.15 per gallon for mid-grade (88-89 octane)
or plus $.30 for premium (90-94 octane). All other grades of fuel higher
than 94 octane are not covered under this program and the full pump price
will be billed through to the customer plus a $2 service fee per
transaction with no gallon usage penalty. If customer purchases unleaded
gas (including E85) on a diesel card, or diesel fuel on an unleaded gas
card, the customer will be billed the full pump price plus $2 service fee
per transaction with no gallon usage penalty.
About Chrysler LLC
Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler,
Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Total sales
worldwide in 2007 were 2.68 million vehicles. Sales outside of North
America were the highest in a decade with an increase of 15 percent from
2006. The Company’s product lineup features some of the world’s most
recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge
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