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

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.