DETROIT -- Cutting sticker prices seems to be doing the job that General Motors assigned to it: enabling the automaker to scale back its huge rebates on cars and light trucks.
We don't mean the first attempt at lower stickers, which GM installed last fall. Those stickers showed minimal reductions from 2005 prices, and they followed a summer of employee pricing, with its heavy discounts.
The pricing strategy fell on its face then, and GM stopped talking about it.
But the company decided to give it another chance. On Jan. 11, it announced a wide range of reductions, many of them $1,000 to $3,000. With them came a new set of incentives that ran until Jan. 31. Now, the February-March incentives have been put in place, and they are largely unchanged from the January offers.
Most rebates are in the $500-to-$1,500 range, much lower than GM has been offering during the past year. The automaker is hopeful. The new price-rebate system helped GM increase the U.S. sales of its North American brands 5.8 percent in January.
A few big rebates ($5,500-$6,000) remain, but they are designed to clear out leftover full-sized 2006 SUVs that have been replaced in showrooms by what GM calls 2007 models.
Ford division hasn't matched GM's January price cuts, but it is aping GM on the rebate side. Payments of $500 to $3,000 abound.
The Chrysler group also is watching its pennies, but the Chrysler Pacifica and Town & Country bring $3,000, and so do the Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Durango and Ram 1500.
GM's incentives expire March 31, Ford's and Chrysler's on Feb. 28.
You may e-mail John K. Teahen Jr. at [email protected]