Chrysler deal tries to pump up US drivers

At a time when gas hovers at an astronomical $4 per gallon, $2.99 would seem like a gift. Chrysler wants to give this present to its customers - for three whole years - through its Let's Refuel America campaign.

At a time when gas hovers at an astronomical $4 per gallon, $2.99 would seem like a gift. Chrysler wants to give this present to its customers - for three whole years - through its Let's Refuel America campaign.

However, there are a few caveats: You must purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler by June 2 of this year; gas purchases must be done with a Visa or Mastercard; each Chrysler model comes with its own maximum amount of gas (unleaded or diesel only) covered; and if you purchase gas below the $2.99 rate, Chrysler will not adjust the price, but will apply it toward your gas allotment. Still sound like a deal?

Nothing makes a company look more disingenuous than a "price break" that consumers have trouble taking advantage of, and the fine print for this campaign reeks of road blocks. It might also have sounded a false note with eco-conscious consumers after groups, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, chided the automaker for trying to cover up poor fuel performances on vehicles like pickups, which are covered under the gas giveaway.

Although the campaign seems to be garnering decent buzz and word of mouth, consumers that can't follow all of those caveats - the right vehicle, right type of gas, right credit card - will feel like they're looking at last year's sock present from grandma, where you can only shrug and say, "It's the thought that counts."

PR Play rating:
1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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