Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Chrysler's "Free Gas" Offer: Not Sure I'm Buying It

So it's come to this. Giving customers a guarantee they won't pay more than $2.99 a gallon if they buy a new car, truck, SUV. On the surface, it's a smart move by Chrysler. But I'm not sure how much it will help sales at the struggling automaker.

Here's how Chrysler's Refueling America promtotion will work. Starting Wednesday, most new Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge models will be sold with a gas card you then use for three years. It guarantees you pay no more than $2.99 a gallon for 12,000 miles over the first 3 years you own the model.

Chrysler says this is about giving customers peace of mind and not just a promotion to spur sales. Sorry guys, I don't buy it.

Will this give some buyers peace of mind that their gas costs are capped? Absolutely.

But don't tell me this is not about spurring sales. If Chrysler sales were strong and not down almost 30% last month do you think the company would roll out this offer? No. This is all about getting those who might want a new model, but who don't buy because they are worried about gas prices, to get off the sidelines and get in the showroom.

Will it help sales? Perhaps a bit at first. But like all auto promotions, other company's will likely match the offer or come up with something similar. If that happens, then whatever advantage Chrysler gets from being the first to cap gas costs will be diminished. But give Chrysler credit. It's trying something different to boost sales.

Gas Guzzling Guarantee

Questions?  Comments?