ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Chrysler group will give dealers a 0 percent, 60-month finance program through February to help cut inventory.
The program will cover most core products. Not included in the plan are the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, which are selling well, dealers said.
Chrysler officials spelled out details during a make meeting at which several dealers asked for factory assistance to help cut inventory. The automaker has been asking franchisees to take larger allocations in recent weeks.
"There's a lot of interest in getting additional support for floorplanning," Gary Panteck, chairman of the Chrysler-Jeep National Dealer Council, said after the meeting. "Some dealers have resisted more inventory."
Panteck, dealer principal of Brunswick Auto Mart Inc., Brunswick, Ohio, added: "Dealer profitability is largely reduced by flooring our inventory."
Andy Palmen, chairman of the Dodge National Dealer Council, predicted the 0-60 program will stir sales.
"We were asking for more incentives," said Palmen, who is dealer principal of Palmen Motors in Kenosha, Wis. "But I think this is a much richer spend for the company."
Joe Eberhardt, the Chrysler group's executive vice president for global sales, marketing and service, said dealers are seeking assistance - but only to get through the next few weeks until new products begin arriving. The Dodge Caliber arrives in March, and the Dodge Nitro SUV comes this summer. Jeep dealers will get the Compass and Patriot.
"If we provide more inventory assistance, we would be incentivizing dealers for holding inventory," Eberhardt said. "We want to reduce inventory carrying costs, but the way to do that is to increase selling rates. That is what we're doing."
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