DETROIT – Chrysler may match General Motors Corp.'s (GM) offer giving all U.S. car buyers the same discounts its employees get if GM extends the promotion beyond next week, a Detroit newspaper said on Wednesday.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Detroit News (search) said the U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler (DCX) had told its national dealer council on Tuesday it could make a similar offer as early as next Monday if GM extends its promotion through July.
GM, the world's top carmaker, has seen customer traffic soar since it announced the offer on June 1. The offer is due to end on July 5 but GM's North American marketing chief has been quoted as saying it might be prolonged.
"I can tell you that we're looking at everything right now," Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines was quoted as telling the newspaper. "You've got to give it to GM because they repackaged what they already had and cut through the clutter."
"We could announce a new (incentives) campaign as early as Friday or as late as Monday or Tuesday," he added. "What we don't want to do is match the firesale mentality."
DaimlerChrysler shares were up 20 cents, or 0.49 percent, at $40.92 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The success of the GM offer — expected to be confirmed by June U.S. sales numbers on Friday — is forcing rivals to take a look at how to defend share in the world's biggest and most fiercely competitive car market.
Dan Bedore, a spokesman at GM's crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. (F) said "that's not in the works right now" when asked if the No. 2 U.S. automaker was considering matching the employee discount program.
"We are going to watch the market," he said.