09 July 2010

Chrysler Adds 2 Car Payments to Incentives

USA Today

Chrysler is expanding an incentive program previously limited to its minivans that allows buyers of most models to return the vehicle within 60 days if they are not happy with it. The program also covers the first two monthly payments up to $1,000.

"With this pledge, consumers will have the confidence to know they made the right purchase or they can return the vehicle no questions asked," said Fred Diaz, CEO of the Ram truck brand and also Chrysler Group's top U.S. sales executive.

The program includes most 2010 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram models.

The automaker's newest models, such as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, are not in the program.

Most automakers try to clear out current model year vehicles from July through Labor Day to make room for 2011 models, most of which are introduced in the fall. Chrysler dealers had 59 days of supply on their lots at the end of June, down from 71 days a year earlier, according to Ward's Automotive Reports.

Chrysler's sales have recovered more slowly than those at Ford or General Motors, but in each of the last two months, Chrysler has reported increases of more than 30% over the year-earlier month.

A big portion of those higher sales are going to rental agencies, government and corporate fleets.

This pledge, which is similar to an offer Hyundai made in the depths of the economic downturn in early 2009, could be aimed at boosting retail sales.

"It certainly couldn't hurt. It doesn't really cost any more than plunking down a big incentive on the hood," said Aaron Bragman, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich. "The actual incidence of returning a vehicle is fairly low, if past programs are anything to go by."

In addition, Chrysler is offering what it calls the "National Tent Event" through Aug. 2. Dealers will offer a choice of:

•The two-month payment offer.

•Interest-free financing up to 60 months on most 2010 models if buyers finance through GMAC Financial Services (1.9% for 72 months).

•Direct cash rebates that range from $1,000 to $4,000 on various models.

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