Chevy to sweeten car price with free air tickets

The Chevrolet Division of General Motors has a new sales promotion: Buy and fly.

Instead of handing out rebate checks to its auto buyers, Chevrolet announced Sept. 29 that it will give free round-trip airline tickets on Eastern Airlines. The sales promotion comes during a difficult year for both Chevy and Eastern.

The Chevy-Eastern buy-fly program, the two companies said, ''could trigger almost a billion dollars worth of economic activity over the next 13 months.'' Buyers of Chevettes, Citations, and certain pickup trucks between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15 will receive round-trip airline tickets for two that can be used for practically every Eastern location. Robert C. Stempel, general manager of the Chevy Division, said he would not be surprised if 100,000 people buy GM cars or trucks because of the offer. He said this could translate into 200,000 round-trips for Eastern; when combined with normal traveller spending and the value of the cars, this could add up to $1 billion in economic activity.

For the buyer of a car contemplating a vacation requiring a flight, it could also add up to a considerable savings. Two tickets from Seattle to Barbados, the longest round trip, would normally cost $2,098 on a discounted basis. Two round-trip tickets from San Francisco to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands would cost $1,246. And from Chicago to Cancun, Mexico, the figure is $628. The shortest flight is from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale, which would cost $52 for two round trips. Eastern chairman Frank Borman said, however, that he did not expect people to use the tickets for short flights. Buyers have up to a year to use the tickets. Eastern has not included flights toSouth America or Panama. Chevy will launch the program with a nationwide advertising blitz in both electronic and print media starting next week. The ads will run during NCAA football coverage and on the Turner Cable network. Chevy also plans to advertise in newspapers covering 81 different markets

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.