0 percent financing message comes through loud and clear

Hooked on deals
In a survey last week of 772 consumers


  • 77.7% were aware of 0% loans

  • 18.8% were prompted to shop by inexpensive loans

  • 15.7% were waiting for even better deals

    Source: Dohring & Co.

  • A hefty 77.7 percent of consumers were aware of the 0 percent financing offered by many automakers, a consumer survey found last week.

    And of those who were aware, 18.8 percent said the cheap rates prompted them to start shopping for a new vehicle.

    The results show why auto sales are chugging along, despite a faltering economy, layoffs and slipping consumer confidence.

    It's too early to say, though, whether the incentives will hurt sales substantially next year, said Rik Kinney, executive vice president of Dohring Co., which conducted the online poll.

    "I don't have a good crystal ball," he said, citing the uncertain economic climate.

    OpinionSurveys.com, a unit of Dohring, surveyed 772 consumers nationwide late last week. The poll was commissioned by Automotive News.

    For now, though, the cut-rate financing is juicing sales. In the first half of October, sales rose 14 percent from a year earlier, according to CNW Marketing/Research.

    Dohring's survey found that the 0 percent financing influenced 27.1 percent of consumers that purchased or leased a new vehicle in the last month. Of those who were aware of the cheap loans, 15.7 percent were waiting for even better deals.

    The Big 3 and some other manufacturers started offering 0 percent and other cut-rate loans in September to boost consumer confidence after the terrorist attacks. Last week, GM extended the program from Oct. 31 to Nov. 18.

    Both Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group have complained about the deals' high costs. An automaker loses about $2,200 of interest on a three-year, 0 interest loan compared with a standard 6.5 percent loan.

    Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report

    You can reach Charles Child at (Unknown address)

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