Creator of auto sale rebates dies at 83

Nov. 14, 2006 at 4:12 PM
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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Robert B. McCurry Jr., a Chrysler Corp. executive who invented rebates as a sales incentive, died at his Delaware home of prostate cancer complications at 83.

McCurry, who died Tuesday, rose from an apprentice district sales manager in Green Bay, Wis., to group vice president of automotive sales and marketing. In late 1974, as Chrysler's group vice president in charge of sales and marketing, he was fighting an uphill battle against shrinking sales and growing inventories.

After working with his staff over the Christmas holidays, McCurry's solution to the problem aired during half time of the Super Bowl IX telecast on Jan 12, 1975, when Joe Garagiola appeared as the ringmaster of Chrysler's Car Clearance Carnival.

"Buy a car, get a check," Garagiola said, offering $200 cash back if they bought a new Dodge Dart or Plymouth Duster.

A year after retiring from Chrysler in 1978, he became general manager of Mid-Atlantic Toyota, a Maryland dealership. In 1982, he joined Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Toyota's U.S. sales and marketing arm, as general manager of the Los Angeles sales region. He went on to become vice chairman, retiring in 1993.

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