Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Free Cars (with 2 yr. contract, of course)

  [vote for,

So I just got a "free" cell phone last week because I had subscribed to carrier X for a number of years and they sent me a "gift" with the contract renewal.

So while the phone appears to be 'free', I actually gave them a ton of money in the form of monthly payments... probably enough to cover the cost of 10 or 20 phones.

Why couldn't the same principle work with automobiles?

Oil Company X has a subsidiary company that also produces inexpensive cars. You sign a contact with OIl Company X that says you will purchase gasoline exclusively through them (you will be restricted from using gasoline from other companies).They then supply you with a free car. They essentially trade a cheap automobile for two years worth of guaranteed gasoline purchases from you. And every two years, as long as you renew the contract, you can trade the car in for an updated or new version. Therefore, you avoid having to perform expensive repairs.

Archbishop Furball, Apr 18 2007

redundant with this idea Car_20Jet
[theircompetitor, Apr 18 2007]


       Nice idea, but totally unviable financially. I mean, say you use the car very heavily (50,000 kms/year). Over two years that's 100,000 kms, for a fairly average car that'll be between 5,000 and 10,000 litres of fuel. $7500 - $15000AU. This is unlikely to be enough to pay for a new car, let alone generate any profits for the fuel company.   

       For this to work they'd have to bung another few dollars per litre onto the cost of fuel.   

       Oh, that and they'd have absolutely no reason to produce fuel efficient cars, would they? Bit of a conflict of interest there.
Custardguts, Apr 18 2007

       "I like the way the new Chevrons look".   

       "Yes, but the Shells are a lot more reliable".
normzone, Apr 18 2007

       There are some promotions that work the other way, buy such and such a car and get free gas for a year. Either way, a horrid idea. Especially the part about cars burning gas.
nuclear hobo, Apr 18 2007

       some of those "wrap car" scams promise a free new car if you agree to drive around with their advertising plastered on the car for 4 years.
whlanteigne, Mar 09 2008

       Might work well if ran by insurance companies? They charge you full coverage, and they could make it available for people with bad records. Might end up with a crappy car if they think you are gonna smash it up again. Just thought of it since thats the second biggest ripper-offer of drivers (oil companies being the first).
KineticKill, Mar 09 2008

       This could work. I have heard that V.W. has its own bank. So combine the car dealer/insurance/ maintenance/financing/ and just rotate cars (for new ones) gfundl P.S. see my idea 'freeway speed regulators'
gfundl, Mar 09 2008

       And to subsidize the cost of the car, the oil company would jack the price of the fuel to even higher levels. And as [custardguts] pointed out, their incentive to produce fuel-efficient cars would be nil.   

       The point of business is to generate money, and the oil and gasoline and cars are all just a step along the path toward making more money. This wouldn't be just a conflict of interest, it would be locking the cat inside the cage with both the mice and the cheese.
elhigh, Mar 12 2008

       The distinction between a 'free' cell-phone if you use a certain carrier and a 'free' car if you use a certain fuel supplier is that cell-phone service has very little marginal cost to the carrier; once the towers and other infrastructure are in place, carrying your call or message costs virtually nothing, so they can use your call charges to subsidise the phone which, in turn, ties you to their service. Petrol, however, is a real resource; it has a cost per gallon, and the oil companies make very little profit on it.
angel, Mar 12 2008


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