DETROIT — General Motors Corp. is back in the discount game, and U.S. rivals Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group could join in soon.
The world's largest automaker announced Monday that it was offering so-called red tag prices through Jan. 3 on most Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles from the 2005 and 2006 model years. Under the program, dealers will post fixed maximum prices on the vehicles.
GM said the deals generally would not be as good as they were this summer, when consumers could pay the employee price. But the automaker hopes the program will lure customers who traditionally buy vehicles over the holidays.
"The prices are probably on balance a little higher than with the employee discount, but they're still very, very competitive," GM spokeswoman Deborah Silverman said.
Some vehicles will be discounted $4,000 or more under the red tag deal, Silverman said. A 2006 Buick LaCrosse will sell for $23,595, $3,020 less than the regular price, and a 2006 four-wheel-drive GMC Envoy will sell for $26,938, or $4,612 off.
Ford spokesman Jim Cain said Ford would decide soon whether to match GM's offer. Ford already has a zero-percent financing deal for some 2005 trucks and sport utility vehicles and a $1,000 discount on the 2006 Lincoln LS sedan.
Chrysler spokesman Kevin McCormick said the division had a new discount program in the works and could announce details this week. Chrysler already is offering $1,000 on all 2005 and 2006 vehicles. Chrysler is part of DaimlerChrysler.
When its wildly popular employee-discount program ended in September, GM vowed to cut back on incentives in favor of lower overall prices and ads that stress the vehicles' value.
GM shares fell 74 cents to $23.74.