DETROIT — Those who insist that rebates and other incentives have lost their punch and are not spurring sales are outside the auto industry. They may be looking in, but they aren't seeing much.
If you're wondering how effective incentives are, just ask yourself: Where would this industry be without them? Or, better yet, ask Chrysler and General Motors.
Chrysler LLC has cash rebates to customers on just about every model in the store. The top giveback is $5,000 on the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. What is Chrysler's best-selling model? The Ram 1500 pickup, of course.
Eight other 2008 Chrysler nameplates bring the customer $3,000 to $3,500. They are the Chrysler 300C (that's the Hemi); the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups; the Dodge Durango, Charger and Magnum; and the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee.
GM isn't spending as much on individual 2008 models, but its list is longer than Chrysler's. GM's top payment is $2,500 on the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. Thirty-one other nameplates pay the buyer $500 to $2,000. Twenty of them are trucks.
If you want a real rebate, try a 2007 Cadillac — any Cadillac: the XLR, $7,500; DTS, $5,000; Escalade, $4,500; CTS and STS, $4,000.
The 2007 Chevrolet Silverado Classic and GMC Sierra Classic offer $5,000 to the buyer. Those are rebadged 2006 models that were sold early in the 2007 model year. The rebate is $1,000 to $3,500 on regular 2007 Silverados and Sierras.
The 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban bring $3,750. So do the 2007 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
The GM and Chrysler incentives expire Jan. 2. As November ended, Ford Motor Co. was tinkering with its December program.