A plan by FCA US to crack down on abuses of its discount program for employees and retirees has hit a snag: its employees and retirees.
The automaker gave its current and former workers until June 14 to submit online a list of family members eligible for the discount on most FCA vehicles. But according to dealer and employee sources familiar with the program, fewer than a quarter of eligible employees or retirees completed the process by that deadline.
As a result, the deadline has been extended to at least July 19, and an explanatory video posted online suggests that the deadline for the Employee Advantage Program can be extended again as needed during this year's registration window.
The program lets eligible employees, retirees and their immediate family members buy FCA vehicles at a discount of up to 5 percent off the factory invoice price, depending on the vehicle. Each employee or retiree can unlock the family discounts for as many as six vehicles each year.
In an initial May 14 email to FCA dealer principals and sales managers, Jeff Kommor, FCA's vice president of U.S. sales, said the automaker's new process — requiring employees to list all eligible family members who could use a discount code — "provides added security" to the discount program.
"Incidents of misuse have occurred, including generation of [Employee Advantage] control numbers for ineligible purchasers and selling of control numbers," Kommor wrote. "This change, together with regular audits to verify eligibility through legal documentation, will help prevent inappropriate usage of unauthorized discounts and protect this [Employee Advantage] benefit."
A second discount program, known as the Friends Program, will remain less restrictive, but will still require the employee or retiree to generate a control number, which will be sent to that FCA employee or retiree's email address, Kommor wrote in May. FCA's Friends Program provides a discount of 1 percent below factory invoice.
One Michigan FCA dealer told Automotive News that, at a meeting with other dealers in FCA's Great Lakes Business Center, company officials worried aloud that ending the abuse in the program would hurt sales, and that the automaker is working to boost registration rates among employees and retirees.
Spokesmen for FCA US and the UAW, which represents the bulk of the automaker's roughly 60,000 U.S. employees, declined requests for comment.