If at first you don't succeed
The Big 3 applied that age-old principle to their incentive programs last week. They tried again because October sales tanked and early November wasn't a whole lot better.
At General Motors, it's the Red Tag Event -- not quite employee pricing, but close. It's supplier pricing. Customers buy at the price GM charges employees of its suppliers, plus $100. After the customer rebate is deducted, the price is just about dealer invoice.
The offer applies to Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles. Cadillac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab have their own programs.
GM also revised its rebate schedule. It added $500 on many 2006 models and deducted $1,000 on most 2005 vehicles.
Ford Motor Co.'s Keep It Simple plan is similar but without the supplier angle.
Cars and trucks, 2005 and 2006, wear a price tag that includes the customer rebate. Prices are a bit below dealer invoice.
Ford did a lot of rethinking about buyer rebates. The rebate on a 2006 Ford Taurus is down $3,500 -- now $500. The rebate on a 2006 E-series van is down $2,500 -- now $1,000.
Chrysler is playing maverick. It is offering buyers the Miles of Freedom program: $2,400 worth of free gasoline, two years of free scheduled maintenance and a 5-year/60,000-mile mechanical warranty (up from 3 years/36,000 miles). Or customers may choose the regular rebates.
The Chrysler group's rebates expire Nov. 30. The rest of its program and all of the GM and Ford incentives are scheduled to end Jan. 3.
You may e-mail John K. Teahen Jr. at