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Buy a Truck, Save a Buck

October 20, 2008
Both Ford and Chrysler are offering significant discounts and/or rebates for their freshly redesigned '09 full-size trucks, reports Automotive News. Ford offers a $2,500 for every trade-in of its F-150, while Chrysler offers cash discounts of up to $2,000 on the '09 Dodge Ram.

Apparently, these strategies have worked, with September sales of light trucks climbing to nearly 16 percent of the U.S. light vehicle market, according to the Financial Times. That journal points to May numbers of only 8.6 percent by the same measure. Nonetheless, sales of full-size trucks are down drastically. The F-150, which has been Ford's lifeblood for 31 years, were off 39 percent in September compared to the same month one year ago. For the Ram, that comparison yielded a 28 percent decline.

Just how deep can the struggling domestics discount their trucks to keep them trickling off lots? Surely the beancounters at the Big Three (not to mention their dealer network) are burning the midnight oil walking a delicate balance between bringing in cash without giving their vehicles away. Finding the point of diminishing returns in this black hole of a market is a job we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies, and it's a shame as both Ford's new F-150 and, especially, Dodge's new Ram are great vehicles worthy of consideration by those needing a truck. But it would seem that those truly needing such a vehicle comprise an ever smaller group when stocks tumble and times are tough.--Colin Mathews

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