Chrysler joins certified used-car game

Program particulars
Elements of Chrysler group's certified used-car program in Detroit

  • Eligible vehicles are no older than 5 model years and have less than 65,000 miles

  • Vehicles come with any remaining new-vehicle warranty and a powertrain warranty up to 8 years/80,000 miles

  • Dealers pay $395 to certify a vehicle

  • Dealers who certify at least 10 vehicles will be paid a maximum $1,000 for advertising

  • DETROIT - The Chrysler group unveiled its certified used-vehicle program Oct. 2 to about 50 Metro Detroit Five-Star dealers that sell Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands.

    The company has tested similar programs in other markets.

    Although dealers say a national rollout is imminent, company spokesman Marc Henretta would only confirm the program is being tested in some markets and that the company still is trying to determine what elements such a program would include.

    According to Detroit dealers, the program works like this:

    Eligible vehicles must be no older than five model years, have less than 65,000 miles on their odometers and undergo a 125-point inspection.

    The vehicles come with roadside assistance, any remaining new-vehicle warranty and a powertrain warranty of up to eight years or 80,000 miles.

    Chrysler group is charging dealers $395 to certify a vehicle and cover the factory warranty.

    "It is not a requirement for Five Star dealers yet - 'yet' was mentioned a lot" during the meeting, said a dealer who attended the meeting.

    Five Star dealers have met factory-set customer service and operational standards.

    According to a dealer who was at the meeting, Chrysler group managers said the company has about 1 million vehicles coming off lease in the next two years - 600,000 in 2002 and 400,000 in 2003.

    Dick Withnell, Dodge Division National Dealer Council chairman, said Chrysler group created the program with assistance from dealers. He believes the program represents a good value for the consumer and the dealer.

    The program is not available in his area, Withnell said.

    "The warranty will resonate with the consumer,'' said Withnell, who retails about 100 used vehicles a month at Whitnell Dodge in Salem, Ore. "What you're doing is enhancing the value."

    While neither the Chrysler group nor its captive finance company, Chrysler Financial, are offering any special finance rates on the certified vehicles, dealers who certify at least 10 vehicles will be paid $1,000 in co-op advertising money, dealers said.

    You can reach Arlena Sawyers at

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