"Jeep ads perform well, so the Chevy overperformance is especially meaningful because it's against an otherwise pretty strong brand," said Steve Shannon, strategic adviser for EDO.

A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesman declined to comment.

A Chevy spokeswoman said these are among the brand's most effective ads. "They perform well on several key metrics — breakthrough, clarity of message, likability and, importantly, driving purchase intent," she said.

Chevy has run the year-end promotion since 2005, while FCA is new to the promotion as of Nov. 1, according to EDO.

"That was a game changer when Chevy launched that program," said Shannon, who was previously vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America and executive director of marketing for Cadillac. "I think they generated a tremendous amount of equity with it. While others have tried it, I think [Chevy] owns it."

Chevy's discounts, including an additional cash allowance, range from $12,260 on the 2019 Silverado 2500 LTZ crew cab to $3,436 on the 2020 Spark 2LT. Jeep's steepest discount is $6,185 off the 2019 Renegade Limited 4x4.

Before the campaign, Chevy was routinely fourth or fifth in EDO's rankings. A week after it started, it shot to the top.

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The boards of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group were meeting separately on Tuesday to discuss finalizing an initial agreement for a $50 billion merger to create the world's number four automaker, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A person close to FCA said the two companies could announce the signing of a binding memorandum early on Wednesday, followed by a conference call to explain further details later in the day.

Ahead of the meetings, entities representing the Peugeot family, Etablissements Peugeot Freres and FFP, unanimously approved a proposed memorandum of understanding for the planned merger, a person familiar with the situation said.

The French state, which owns about 12 percent of PSA and has board representation, supports a binding memorandum of understanding that reflects minor changes to an accord unveiled by the two automakers on Oct. 31, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The combination "makes sense in order to build a new champion with global scale to take on the challenges of sustainable mobility," a French finance ministry official said in a statement.

FCA and PSA announced their plan six weeks ago to create an automotive powerhouse that would challenge Volkswagen Group in Europe, while maintaining Chrysler's Detroit 3 presence in the U.S.

The new company would be based in the Netherlands and headed by PSA CEO Carlos Tavares. Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann would keep his role as chairman.

The deal will turn two midsize automakers into a global giant, with sales of more than 8 million vehicles a year and a stable of brands including PSA's Peugeot and Citroen and Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Ram.

The automakers are responding to growing pressure on the industry to pool resources for product development, manufacturing and purchasing in the face of trade tensions, a global sales slowdown and an expensive shift toward electric and self-driving technology.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report

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NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court said General Motors is not liable for punitive damages over accidents that occurred after its 2009 bankruptcy and involved vehicles it produced earlier, including vehicles with faulty ignition switches.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said on Tuesday that the automaker did not agree to contractually assume liability for punitive damages as part of its federally-backed Chapter 11 reorganization.

GM filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, and its best assets were transferred to a new Detroit-based company with the same name. The other assets and many liabilities stayed with "Old GM," which is also known as Motors Liquidation Co.

Tuesday's 3-0 decision may help GM reduce its ultimate exposure in nationwide litigation over defective ignition switches in several Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn models.

It is also a defeat for drivers involved in post-bankruptcy accidents, including those who collided with older GM vehicles driven by others, as well as their law firms.

The ignition-switch defect could cause engine stalls and keep airbags from deploying, and has been linked to 124 deaths.

A lawyer for the drivers and their law firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment. GM had no comment.

Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said GM's agreement to acquire assets "free and clear" of most liabilities excused it from punitive damages claims for Old GM's conduct.

He also noted that the judge who oversaw the bankruptcy concluded that the new company could not be liable for claims that the "deeply insolvent" Old GM would never have paid.

The decision upheld a May 2018 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan, who oversees the ignition-switch litigation.

Drivers have sought a variety of damages in that litigation, including for declining resale values.

GM has recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles since 2014 over ignition-switch problems.

It has also paid more than $2.6 billion in related penalties and settlements, including $900 million to settle a U.S. Department of Justice criminal case.

The case is In re: Motors Liquidation Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-1940.

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