Employee Pricing Plus "has not generated a whole lot of floor traffic," says CNW President Art Spinella. "There has been a slight bump," he says.
That contrasts sharply with last summer, he says.
"A year ago, when General Motors did the employee pricing, floor traffic went up almost 60 percent," he says.
But auto dealers say it will take time for the Chrysler program to gain steam. Chrysler is offering customers employee pricing on most 2006 models, along with 0 percent financing and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The hot-selling Dodge Caliber car, launched this year as a 2007 model, is not included.
Jon Myers, owner of Naples Dodge in Naples, Fla., says of the incentives program: "I feel real positive about it. I think it's going to really drive some traffic, which we needed. I think it will help with our truck sales and our Durango sales. I even think it will resonate well with our car buyers, specifically the Charger."
Another dealer says the program gained momentum last week.
"It wasn't until yesterday (July 5) that we started getting a pretty large influx of people who understood there was employee purchase," says Thomas Vann, owner of Hillsdale Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Hillsdale, Mich., a dealership specializing in Internet car sales.
"Yesterday was quite a successful day for us, as we had seven people purchase or commit."
Flurry of ads
Chrysler launched Employee Pricing Plus with a flurry of advertisements featuring DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who is renamed "Dr. Z." Zetsche will continue as Chrysler's spokesman, stressing its ties with its German parent company, after the summer incentives.
Florida dealer Myers likes the ads.
"We got to see those ads a little early when they were doing storyboards with them," he says.
"I thought they were very good. We liked that it talked about the heritage, the German-American heritage and the quality. That's a story we have that nobody else has."
But CNW's Spinella says the ads send a mixed message by talking about quality one moment and low price the next.
"The whole notion of German engineering has deteriorated over the last 10 years, anyway. Mercedes is not representative of the finest engineering in the world anyway. Lexus is."
Gail Kachadourian contributed to this report
You may e-mail Bradford Wernle at [email protected]