Chrysler launches more incentives to replace leases

DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC is offering 40 percent off select Dodge Ram pickups as part of its August incentive program for dealers, who were stunned a week earlier by the automaker’s announcement that it was getting out of the leasing business.

Chrysler is calling its August promotion “Shop ’til You Drive.” It is intended to steer customers who leased in the past into retail incentives by lowering monthly payments.

Said Jim Press, Chrysler co-president: “We are leveraging the move from leasing to retail purchases to offer our customers the best deals of the year and make buying as affordable as renting.

“We have repackaged our incentive spending typically spent on leasing into retail purchase packages to lower monthly payments on select vehicles from the Dodge Caliber and Dodge Charger to the Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep Liberty. With the model year ending on 2008 vehicles, the time to buy has never been better.”

Chrysler Financial is offering customers as much as $2,000 cash on select retail purchases and expanding its offering of 72-month financing on a range of mid-sized, full-sized and compact vehicles. To take advantage of the $2,000 offer, customers must finance through Chrysler Financial.

Think clearance sale

Chrysler is offering 0 percent interest for 72 months to customers with an A credit rating on five 2008 vehicles: Dodge Ram, Durango, Chrysler Aspen, and Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee. Customers with a B-tier credit can get the same vehicles at 0 percent for 60 months.

Chrysler has been telling dealers to think in terms of the kinds of clearance sales that department stores have. Such sales offer goods priced in terms of percentages discounted off retail.

In addition to 40 percent off sticker price for the Ram, Chrysler is offering as much as 25 percent off the Aspen, 24 percent off the Town & Country minivans and 28 percent off Grand Cherokees.

Loyalty incentive

Chrysler also is offering a lease loyalty incentive that customers coming out of a leased vehicle can put toward a retail purchase. Chrysler has waived a $425 lease disposition fee for customers buying an eligible vehicle through Chrysler Financial.

Chrysler’s TV commercials will feature the up-to-40-percent-off message.

Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr said the automaker developed the incentive plan with much input from dealers in the week since the July 25 announcement that Chrysler Financial was exiting the leasing business.

One dealer, Ken Zangara, of Zangara Dodge in Albuquerque, N.M., held a promotion in late June and July offering 50 percent off the Ram.

PRESS RELEASE

August 1, 2008

Chrysler LLC Celebrates August Retail Purchase and Finance Enhancements

- Company to make buying as affordable as renting

- 72-month finance deals expanded to wider range of vehicles

- Customers to receive up to $2,000 cash back on select retail purchases

when financed through Chrysler Financial

- Finance payments reduced to levels previously available on 36-month

lease transactions

- Returning lease customers to receive Lease Loyalty incentive of $750

toward retail purchase of an eligible new Chrysler, Jeep® or Dodge

vehicle

- Launches new end-of-model year clearance campaign: 'Shop 'Til You

Drive Sales Event'

Auburn Hills, Mich. - As the market makes a shift from leasing to retail purchasing, Chrysler LLC today announced that in August the Company will repackage its incentives to make purchasing a vehicle more affordable than ever. The new strategy includes 72-month finance deals on an expanded range of compact, mid-size and full-size vehicles. The program creates retail payments similar to 36-month lease payments, and lower than previously offered finance payments. With these new incentive offers, customers can get lower payments with the benefits of ownership.

The Company is able to achieve this by repackaging incentive resources from leasing to retail. Helping achieve these low-finance payments are special retail finance rates and a bonus consumer cash program in which customers can now receive up to $2,000 cash back on select retail purchases when financed through Chrysler Financial.

"As part of our annual August model-year clearance, we are leveraging the move from leasing to retail purchases to offer our customers the best deals of the year and make buying as affordable as renting," Vice Chairman and President Jim Press said. "We have re-packaged our incentive spending typically spent on leasing into retail purchase packages to lower monthly payments on select vehicles from the Dodge Caliber and Dodge Charger to the Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep® Liberty. With the model year ending on 2008 vehicles, the time to buy has never been better."

Returning lease customers will receive a Lease Loyalty incentive up to $750 for use towards the retail purchase of an eligible new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle. The disposition fee, up to $425, will be waived by Chrysler Financial.

Special deals for August also include the continuation of 0 percent APR for 72- month deals on the Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander.

For those customers who still wish to lease a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle through an independent financial institution, they can take advantage of Chrysler's Customer Cash Allowance on select vehicles up to $2,000.

The Company also announced its "Shop 'Til You Drive Sales Event" sales promotion campaign consisting of new television ads, radio spots, a new national print campaign and Internet promotions. These initiatives are intended to substantially increase awareness and consideration levels of retail purchases, offering lower monthly payments among the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands.

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@autonews.com

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