For everyone who wondered what kind of incentive would be the next big thing, Mitsubishis Dave Schembri knew the Gas Comes Standard promotion was a winner when he had to let auto dealers start the program a day early on Thursday, Sept. 22. Thats because customers found out about the promotion and began lining up outside dealerships before they opened.
Considering everything thats happened in the last couple of years, it must have been surreal for some Mitsubishi dealers to a have a crowd of customers, let alone a friendly crowd who wanted to buy something and wasnt there just to throw bricks and complain about being upside down on their loans.
Can you imagine the shock and awe?
Its the type of program that makes you wish youd thought of it. You know, like Pet Rocks, pickup bed extenders, support-the-troops magnetic stickers, bottled water and employee-discount pricing for everyone.
If consumers are concerned about the price of gasoline -- and they are -- why not give new-car buyers free gasoline for a year? Its not a new idea, but it works.
Even so, free gasoline probably wont spread far. Its one thing to copy General Motors, which still has enough market clout to prompt competitors to follow a successful program. But copy a Mitsubishi program? Heaven forbid!
That is, not unless free gasoline is so successful that Mitsubishi starts gobbling back market share.
If that happens, all bets are off.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at