Ends Estrangement With Former Chairman Credited With Turnaround

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Lee Iacocca is in final negotiations to work for Chrysler again.

Employee discount
The former Chrysler Corp. chairman would appear in a series of TV commercials touting the "Employee Pricing Plus" incentive campaign launched by the Chrysler group, the U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler.

Lee Iacocca will revive his famous commercial line from the 1980s.

The first commercial, which also features actor Jason Alexander, would begin running tomorrow if the deal is finalized. In it, Mr. Iacocca revives the most memorable line from his popular commercials of the early 1980s: "If you can find a better car, buy it."

The campaign would mark the end of a years-long estrangement between Mr. Iacocca and the automaker he helped pull back from the brink of collapse in the early 1980s. Mr. Iacocca's reputation was tarnished in 1995 when he backed an unsuccessful takeover bid by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian.

Follows GM’s lead
The Chrysler group launched the incentive program in the wake of the "GM Employee Discount for Everyone" incentive in June, which drove General Motors Corp.'s sales up 47% for the month. GM has extended the promotion to Aug. 1. Rival Ford Motor Co. has launched a similar incentive program.

Chrysler's advertising takes a dig at GM. One print ad reads: "First we beat them at the show, now we are taking it to the showroom. Now everyone gets our employee discount, plus up to $3,500 cash allowance." The ad pictures the Chrysler 300C, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Grand Caravan and touts the vehicles awards and innovations.

The Chrysler group's pricing incentive runs through Aug. 1. It offers employee discount prices, plus cash back of up to $3,500, on most of the Chrysler group's 2005 model vehicles. Excluded are the hot-selling 2005 Chrysler 300, the Dodge Magnum, Viper and Sprinter van, the Jeep Liberty diesel, all SRT models and all 2006 models.

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Dale Jewett is a reporter for AdAge.com sibling Automotive News.

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