DETROIT -- The governments cash-for-guzzlers program is boosting showroom traffic for dealers representing Chrysler Group, which got a head start by rolling out an incentive offer to match the governments last week.
Of the customers who visited Chryslers 2,400 U.S. dealerships over the past weekend, 70 percent were drawn by the guzzlers program, said Kathy Graham, a Chrysler spokeswoman, citing a survey of the automakers regional business centers.
Of that 70 percent, 30 percent brought trade-ins that actually qualified,
Still, Graham said, the incentive may be Chryslers strongest since all customers were offered the same deals as employees four years ago.
Chryslers Double Ca$h for Your Old Car program offered to match the $3,500 to $4,500 offered by the federal government. For customers with qualified trade-ins, that meant a discount up to $9,000.
Graham could not say how many vehicles Chrysler sold nationally over the weekend. The automaker, which emerged from bankruptcy June 10, could use a lift. Through June, its U.S. sales had plunged 45.7 percent from a year earlier in a market that was down 35.1 percent.
John Schenden, owner of Denver Pro Chrysler-Jeep in Denver, said the guzzlers program and the matching Chrysler incentive had the desired effect.
We sold more new vehicles on Friday and Saturday than any other Friday and Saturday the last year and a half, Schenden said. He said he sold 17 new vehicles during the two days, double his normal rate.