Other Deaths Of Note


November 15, 2006

ROBERT B. MCCURRY, 83, Automotive executive

Robert B. McCurry, 83, who invented the concept of cash rebates while an executive at Chrysler and later became one of the most prominent Americans at a Japanese car company, died Monday of prostate cancer complications at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

A former center on the Michigan State University football team who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Mr. McCurry began his automotive career in 1950 at Chrysler.

He became one of the industry's most skilled marketers. In late 1974, with Chrysler dealers overloaded with slow-selling cars and trucks, Mr. McCurry came up with the idea of giving consumers cash back on their purchases.

The campaign was introduced on Jan. 12, 1975, during Super Bowl IX.

Upon retiring from Chrysler, McCurry took a position with Toyota's Mid-Atlantic division in 1979 and joined the company's American sales arm in 1982.

Mr. McCurry encouraged Toyota to broaden its approach from selling cars one at a time to individual customers, and to become more of an American-style player, taking a mass-market view.

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