Offering employee discounts to all consumers appears to be paying off for the Detroit-based Big Three in the form of increased sales and market share, according to actual retail transaction data from more than 6,200 automotive franchises compiled by the Power Information Network (PIN).
Both Ford and DaimlerChrysler, now offering competitive employee discount pricing programmes of their own, have rebounded in July from mediocre results in June when GM alone offered employee pricing.

For the first 15 days of July, GM, whose GM Employee Discount for Everyone campaign extends across all of its vehicle brands, captured 30.3% of the retail new-vehicle market compared to 25% a year ago and 33.4% during the first 15 days of June, according to PIN. In addition, GM's retail sales were up 42% in July compared to a year ago.

Ford's share rebounded to 19.6% in the first 15 days of the month — up from 15.1% in June and 18.1% in July 2004 — and its retail sales jumped 27% versus a year ago. Its Ford Family Plan offers an employee discount to all buyers for its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler, whose Chrysler Group's Employee Pricing Plus programme offers employee discounts on Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, carried 12.5% of the market in the first 15 days of July — up from 11.3% in June, but down from 13.3% a year ago.  DaimlerChrysler's retail sales have climbed 11% versus July 2004.

The three major Japanese companies—Toyota, Honda and Nissan — all have lost market share in July when compared to both June 2005 and July 2004. Toyota has captured 12.6% market share, Honda 8.4% and Nissan 6.1% in the first half of July, each of which is down versus both June 2005 and July 2004. However, from a sales perspective, the major Japanese companies are holding their own. Nissan (up 22%), Toyota (up 17%), and Honda (up 16%) are all showing sales increases in July versus June, and all three are also up versus July of 2004.

While July is shaping up to be another strong sales month, JD Power and Associates is holding its annual sales forecast at 16.9 million units.

"These programmes are likely pulling forward some of the model year-end sales by a month or two," said a spokesman.

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