Used Volkswagen? Take $1,000 Off a FIAT or Chrysler (And Keep the VW!)

December 11th, 2012

2012 Chrysler 200

Thanks to some arguing and name-calling in Europe, used Volkswagens just went up in value by a thousand bucks in the U.S.

How can a European tiff turn into a financial incentive in the United States? Because the auto market is truly international, and when an Italian automaker wants to prove a point against a German competitor, it looks to assets in the U.S. to drive that point home.

The throwdown in question is between Chrysler/FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne and the entire Volkswagen empire.

According to Bloomberg, FIAT and Chrysler are now offering current Volkswagen owners in the U.S. $1,000 rebates. And get this: Owners don’t even have to give up their VW-branded rides. Just having possession of a Volkswagen will automatically result in a cool thousand on the hood of a new Chrysler or FIAT.

This is the latest in a salvo that Marchionne has thrown at his German adversary. In October, Marchionne had his feelings hurt when Volkswagen board chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn called for Marchionne’s resignation the from presidency of the European Automotive Manufacturers Association (AECA).

The VW execs didn’t believe FIAT would survive the European economic downturn, and thus were of the opinion that Marchionne shouldn’t be in the position to lead such an influential organization. (Incidentally, last week Marchionne was voted to a second term as ACEA president.)

In response, Marchionne called the German executives “reprehensible” and accused Volkswagen of using a steep discounting pricing strategy that has created a “bloodbath” in the EU, where VW currently holds a 25 percent share of the market. The company has a much smaller foothold in the U.S., so by offering the rebate incentive, Marchionne is trying to hit Volkswagen in a weak spot.

Well played, Sergio!

Theoretically, a buyer could take advantage of the rebate, then list the car in CarGurus used listings and sell it privately, making a good amount of money overall versus a traditional trade-in.

Incentives are by no means new in the auto industry, but one that doesn’t require a trade-in could be worth taking advantage of if you’re already in the market for a new car. If the program allows, might I suggest negotiating your price, and then asking for the extra thousand rebate for the VW you arrived in.

Will FIAT’s new incentive get you to consider a Chrysler or FIAT over a Volkswagen?

-tgriffith

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