Just when you thought the price at the pump was stabilizing, new increases are on the way thanks to rising summer demand and crude oil prices that have soared past $75 a barrel. Prices are already at their highest point of the year, and, according to AAA, will likely continue to go well past $3 a gallon. Of course, what you pay depends on where you live: drivers in California are paying as much – or more – than $3.69 per gallon, while motorists in Liberty, South Carolina are shelling out just $2.55 for a gallon of regular --- according to gaspricewatch.com
If Chrysler had a small car like the Corolla, then maybe they would not need to offer employee pricing. Then again, econo-boxes really aren’t Chrysler’s thing. As it is, according to the Detroit News, early returns on Chrysler’s Employee Pricing Plus program seem to indicate that incentives aren’t really shoppers' thing anymore, either. According to the News, the initial reaction to the promotion showed that shopper weren’t as excited about the low prices as they were last summer. The program, which runs through the end of the month, offers employee pricing, zero percent financing or cash rebates, and a 30-day money back guarantee. The blowout sale is needed, because Chrysler has a 98 day supply of trucks and SUVs on dealer lots. Employee pricing or not, that sort of supply makes for a great opportunity for shoppers to negotiate a great price on a new car. You’d think that Chrysler’s employee pricing plus program would be MORE successful than last year, seeing as how Ford and GM have decided to sit out this round of the discount party. General Motors has ended its early summer zero percent financing offer, and Ford is sticking to its Drive On Us program, without further discounts. The Ford deal offers rebate cards of up to $1,100.
H3 get more power
General Motors also plans to do away with several mid-sized SUVs in favor of more fuel efficient crossover vehicles. As reported, plans are in place to end the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and the GMC Envoy in 2009, and replace them with car-based crossover vehicles. That’s not a bad move, considering that the Trailblazer, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are down 20 percent in sales this year.
Ford, meanwhile, plans to keep the Explorer – what would Ford be without the Explorer? -- at least through 2012, but has plans to stop selling the Freestar and Mercury Monterey --- though some would say that they stopped selling those minivans a long time ago. Ford will introduce the much-anticipated Edge crossover vehicle later this year, and also has plans to develop a Fairlane concept-based replacement for the outgoing minivans. The Fairlane, which was introduced at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, is not a minivan – it’s a six-passenger crossover designed to somehow replace a minivan, with strong Range Rover styling cues. This new “mini-over” will not get the Fairlane name.
New Hyundai Santa Fe
Photos courtesy of the automakers