By now everyone’s heard of Chrysler’s new incentive in which they offer to lock in a gallon of gas at $2.99 for up to three years on a new Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicle, up to 12,000 miles a year of course. Sweet deal, aye? So that leaves just one question; what’s the catch? And yes, there is a catch, or a few rather.
First off, hats off to Cerberus! They’re turning Chrysler around, per se; well at least that’s what’s going around the rumor mill. There was once a rumor that the “new” Chrysler had intended to reduce its fleet by switching the brands around and placing them in pairs, accordingly. For example, all cars were to fall under the Chrysler nameplate, all trucks Dodge, and all SUV’s Jeep. This does and doesn’t make since. It makes sense because they would be eliminating over-expenditures on vehicles that are essentially the same (ala Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, and Dodge Charger). But at the same time, some people are brand-loyal and renaming the Dodge Charger a Chrysler Charger might not fair too well with “enthusiasts.”
The newest rumor, which is essentially the same as the rumor mentioned above is that Chrysler is reducing its fleet in half. This maneuver is said to have been already signed off on, though the specifics aren’t known as of yet. Two vehicles which shall be no more, “supposedly,” and thankfully, are the Jeep Compass and Jeep Commander. The Commander is essentially a Grand Cherokee with a third row and uglier styling, while the Compass is just ugly, and not as capable as its big bro, the Patriot. But anyway, back to the incentives.
There are some pros and cons attached with the “$2.99″ deal. If you get this promotion you have the security in knowing what you will be paying at the pump for three years, but, if you get this promotion you also lose out on any other promotional incentives. Yes it is true, check out Chrysle’s website for yourself:
www.chrysler.com/en/refuel/index.html. The average person might think that this is not a big deal because it’s either one or the other; but what the average person might not be aware of is that Chrysler tends to be mighty generous when it comes to distributing rebates, their rebates tend to reach $3,000 at times. Now compare these figures; the amount you will pay for gas over a three year period versus the amount you will pay for the vehicle in full, or lease depending on the route you take.
This being 2008, when talking petro, you have to factor in the alternatives, or alternative rather; a hybrid.
Hybrids are pretty much in the same boat as any other car because they too need gas, and it costs the same amount to fill a hybrid tank as it would a gas guzzler. The difference is how the gas is burned. With a hybrid, so long as you cruise below 25mph, you’ll surely get what you paid for, eventually (don’t forget those hybrid premiums), but who actually drives 25mph! Once you exceed 25mph, cut on the A/C, heat, or window defrost you’re screwed just like everyone else. So, how would one factor a hybrid into this paradigm? Buy a Chrysler hybrid! Unfortunately, Chrysler only offers two hybrids, which, ironically, are two of the larger gas guzzlers that they make; these vehicles of course being the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. This $2.99 deal has to be a conspiracy of some sort! Chrysler shares their Two-Mode Hybrid system with General Motors, however, GM is spreading this system across the board with all their brands in a variety of vehicles, but Chrysler! Two SUVs, two ridiculously large HEMI powered SUVs and that’s it! But, you’ll only pay $2.99 for gas for three years, so take it. How about more options, like a Caliber hybrid, or better yet a Sebring hybrid, that would be sweet. Oh yeah, about those Aspen and Durango hybrids, they’re not out yet! So no luck with taking advantage on the two.
The only good that could possibly come from this promotion would be if the rest of the automotive industry were to adopt this new trend the same way they adopted the “employees pricing for everyone” deal a few years back; at least that way you’d have more options. Speaking of options, I failed to mention that not all Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles are eligible, refer to the link above.
But as far as this promotion catching on with the other manufacturers, that’ll never happen. We need cars. We need fuel for our cars. And the two benefit off of each other. I am convinced, however, that if you can get a car to reach 25mph on a battery, a small battery at that, that you stretch that speed and output if you wanted to. Speaking of which, what ever happened to GM’s EV1???
Until gasoline becomes obsolete and we find other means of fueling our vehicles, we’re stuck riding around town looking for the cheapest price at the pump. I guess when you factor in $2.99 for a gallon of gas versus $3.95; $2.99 isn’t too bad. But, $2.99 a gallon, if you ask me, it’s still too much!