Not a sure thing

Radio commentary
Edward Lapham is the editor of Automotive News

Sept. 7

Using incentives to turbocharge sales of a sluggish model requires a lot more skill than you might think. And sometimes it can backfire.

For example. Executives from the Chrysler group went out of their way to explain why August sales looked so bad in comparison to last August.

They said this year looked bad because sales last August were a record for the month.

True. But that's because last August, the Chrysler group had huge incentives on its 2000 model minivans to clear them out before the launch of the new, improved 2001 models.

But there was a problem. Chrysler let the inventory get too big and waited

too long to use incentives.

That fouled the launch of the new minivans and opened the spigot of red ink.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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