DONNA HARRIS

The bucks stop here

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News

As the weather warms, dealerships may want to try a simple finance promotion that's generated traffic for Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, where temperatures can hover at three digits.

The dealership has advertised special low payments with zero down at bus stops. The store plasters the message in bus shelters and on benches.

The dealership gains a captive audience. Many people take the bus because their cars are in the shop or because they think they can't afford a vehicle, says Ralph Paglia, a former marketing director for the dealership and now an independent dealer consultant.

As they swelter in the Phoenix heat waiting for the bus, they see the dealership's advertisement: For $99 a month and no money down, they can afford more comfortable transportation.

The ads target people with risky credit but appeal to people with good credit, too, Paglia says.

And, he says, the promotion could work in freezing temperatures, too.

I guess you could say the bus -- or the buck -- stops here.

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