To entice consumers to buy or lease a Lumina, Chevrolet is offering free routine maintenance for three years or a prepaid MasterCard worth $700 in gasoline.
The cards are issued by NationsBank Corp. through a program developed by Maritz, a marketer of employee incentive programs. The promotion is running from February through April.
The division of General Motors has been running television commercials to promote the option in several markets in the country.
St. Louis-based Maritz has developed prepaid card programs for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, as an incentive for sales staff. The cards are linked to a bank account, with a preset deposited sum. Companies use the cards to reward employees for outstanding performance.
Boatmen's Bancshares had been issuing MasterCard-branded prepaid cards for Maritz. The program has been transferred to NationsBank, which acquired Boatmen's in January.
The Chevrolet Gasoline Card is the first Maritz prepaid card introduced for general consumers. This card can be used for purchases at any gasoline retailer.
Consumers can opt for the free maintenance, but a high percentage are expected to choose the card, said Michael Jennings, a senior vice president at NationsBank.
Though one-time rebates have been a popular marketing scheme with car dealers, Mr. Jennings said the card "will remind customers of what a good deal they got (from Chevrolet) every time they fill their car with gas."
Jeff Baxter, a consultant with S.J. Baxter & Associates in Forest Hill, Md., called the marketing scheme "a terrific idea." He said the award is "immediate and very tangible," whereas with General Motors Corp.'s cobranded card it could take consumers years to amass a meaningful rebate.