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Chrysler Extends Gas Guarantee For 2nd Month

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Old 28 May 2008, 06:43 pm
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Default Chrysler Extends Gas Guarantee For 2nd Month

Chrysler LLC Responds to Customer and Dealer Feedback, Extends $2.99 Gas Guarantee for 2nd Month


* Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers' feedback drives mid-month extension of new incentive program
* Consumer interest high for the Let's Refuel America program as average gas price in U.S. rises to $3.80
* Alaska, California, Connecticut and Hawaii now average over $4 a gallon

Auburn Hills, Mich., May 19, 2008 – Chrysler LLC today extended to July 7 the Let's Refuel America $2.99 gas guarantee program, which offers customers the opportunity to lock in their gasoline purchases at $2.99 a gallon for three years, up to 36,000 miles. The program was launched on May 7 for the month of May only, but extended for a second month in response to dealer and customer demand for additional time.

Even before the full impact of the national and local advertising has been realized, the Let's Refuel America program already has created a high level of word-of-mouth consumer awareness, with increased traffic coming into Chrysler's 3,511 dealerships and onto its Web sites. After one week, Chrysler's Web site activity is up 25 percent versus the previous week, with internet leads increasing by 34 percent.

"Customers and dealers across America have told us they like the gas guarantee incentive option, so we are providing a second month for shoppers to take advantage of it," said Jim Press, Chrysler LLC Vice-Chairman and President. "Let's Refuel America, the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty and the New Day Packages are all examples of our commitment to deliver more value and peace-of-mind to our customers."

Let's Refuel America Program Details
Through July 7, Let's Refuel America is available on virtually all Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge compact vehicles, SUVs, sedans, minivans, and pickup trucks, including its five vehicles that get 28 mpg on the highway for an MSRP under $20,000. Not included in the program are the company's high- performance vehicles such as the Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, Chrysler Crossfire, and the entire SRT® lineup as well as the Dodge Sprinter, Dodge Ram Chassis Cab and Jeep Wrangler.

Customers who purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle have a choice of one of three incentive packages of similar value: Cash back; 0 percent financing (for eligible customers); or the gas guarantee program, which on some vehicles also includes up to $3,000 additional cash back. Only the Let's Refuel America incentive grows in value if gas prices rise. Upon purchase, customers can evaluate the three options with their dealer representative to determine which incentive best meets their personal financial preference and tolerance for risk related to rising gas prices.

"What our customers and dealers like best about this program is the flexibility of three incentive options, each with a unique benefit," Press said. "Some customers need cash back immediately for a down payment; others don't like paying high interest rates; and many are tired of worrying about rising gas prices and want to be protected. We are pleased to offer every customer a choice of what's best for their individual situation."

Customers who select the Let's Refuel America $2.99 gas guarantee program will receive a gas card (linked back to their own Visa or MasterCard) that is valid at 97 percent of gas stations in the United States. Purchases at the gas stations will be for the full price being charged that day, but only $2.99 per gallon will be billed back to the customers' credit card. Chrysler picks up the rest, regardless of how high gas prices rise.

Initial Results
After the May 7 launch of Let's Refuel America and before the full impact of the advertising has been realized, the highest take rates have been on the new Dodge Journey crossover, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring sedan.

"The most incremental incentives in this gas program are on the company's most fuel-efficient vehicles, which typically do not have this level of incentive available," Press said. "Our customers who buy smaller vehicles put great value on being protected against rising gas prices."

From a geographical perspective, the highest take rates have been in the states of California, Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio, and Washington. These five states are among the 12 highest fuel price states in the country.

"We are pleased that Let's Refuel America seems to resonate with many Americans during this time of gas price volatility," Press said.

From a marketing perspective, Let's Refuel America is supported by national television spots, Dodge Journey ads tagged with the program information and national print, radio and Internet presence.

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, these six models combined have higher sales than in the first four months of 2007.

The recently launched 2009 Dodge Journey comes with an available 173-horsepower, 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 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway for 4x2 models and 17 mpg/city and 22 mpg/highway for 4x4 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 currently is in the midst of a $3 billion powertrain investment offensive to develop new fuel-efficient powertrains and axles for its next-generation models.

Chrysler is committed to doing its share in meeting the nation's energy and environmental needs. Recently, Chrysler joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, to help find solutions to global greenhouse gas emissions.

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 plans).

Program Development
(As told by Mike Keegan, Chrysler LLC Vice President Volume Planning and Dealer Operations)

As part of our constant pursuit of innovative ways to deliver value to customers, Chrysler's incentive group put together a brainstorm session to create the next important incentive program that would tap into consumers' needs. In early March we hosted 25 Sales and F & I managers from our dealerships across the country in Detroit for meetings at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan. The first night the group got together at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum to soak up Chrysler culture and history. It was the first time we ever invited this group in and they were very enthusiastic. We told them we really want to hear from you since you are the closest to our customers. Tell us what their concerns are. They were separated into two groups with each group responsible for presenting three ideas each at the end of the day.

Both groups identified customer concern about the volatility of rising gas prices as a top issue in the marketplace today and suggested we find a way to alleviate customers concerns. These managers were really ahead of the curve, as the rise of gas prices had not yet become the national news story it is today. They really had the pulse of the market.

So we at Chrysler left with our assignment and immediately created a 30-40 person working group of Marketing, Sales, Incentives, IT, Legal, and Finance people that met every day for the next two months. The meetings were 5 pm every day conference calls, where each group reported out their progress.

Because we were doing something that had never been done before, there were hundreds of speed bumps along the way, but the team spirit drove a "how do we solve it" attitude with a commitment to working through challenges and not giving up. That is in the DNA of Chrysler, whether we are inventing the minivan, Viper, PT Cruiser or the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. We were especially focused on making sure it would be a seamless process for the customer, which took a great deal of IT work. It is very exciting to have launched the program and to have gotten such a rousing reception from dealers and customers.

Going forward, we will continue to look for innovative ways to deliver value and satisfy the needs of our customers.

Source: Chrysler Media Services
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Old 29 May 2008, 08:20 am
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Default Re: Chrysler Extends Gas Guarantee For 2nd Month

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