In an effort to lure new car shoppers back into their dealer showrooms, Chrysler has announced that it will offer up to $4,500 cash or 0% interest for 72 months on the purchase of most of its 2009 models.
The incentive program, which Chrysler is calling “Double CA$H for your Old Car” can also be applied in addition to the federally funded CARS program vouchers, effectively doubling the incentive amount up to $9,000 in discounts on qualifying models.
According to Steven Beahm, vice president of sales operations for Chrysler, “We didn’t want consumers without qualifying vehicles to feel left out, so we are offering up to $4,500 to everyone.”
In a conference call with Chrysler dealers, the automaker’s lead sales executive, Peter Fong, said that Chrysler wants to help their dealers move older inventory and focus on buyers who may not qualify for the CARS program vouchers. According to Fong, some 90% of new car buyers will not qualify for the federal program. Through Chrysler’s “Double CA$H for your Old Car” program “We’ve essentially qualified everybody out there,” he said.
Among the vehicles qualifying for the maximum $4,500 discount are Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, Aspen and Sebring sedan, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander and Dodge’s Avenger, Durango and Ram pickups. Other models qualifying for discounts of $3,500 are Chrysler’s Town & Country sedan and Sebring convertible, Jeep’s Patriot, Compass and Liberty and Dodge’s Charger, Journey, Nitro, Grand Caravan, and Ram light duty and Dakota pickups. Jeep is also offering a $1,500 discount on the Wrangler. Buyers may also opt for the 0% interest financing for 72 months in lieu of taking the cash rebate.
The program which begins on July 23 will run through next month and replaces Chrysler’s other incentives which were scheduled to run through the end of this month.
According to Peter Fong, the decision to roll out the new program instead of waiting until August is designed to bolster sales which have slumped following a brief surge that accompanied Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy on June 10. Fong said, “A lot of dynamics in June weren’t going to be repeated in July,” and added, “It didn’t appear we were having a very good July.” Over the course of the first six months of 2009, Chrysler saw sales plummet by 45.7%.
By rolling the program out earlier than scheduled, Chrysler hopes to ease the concerns expressed by many of its dealers that consumers appeared to be holding off on making their new car purchases until the federal CARS program launches. Chrysler spokesperson Kathy Graham said, “We were hearing from a lot of people who thought they could buy with cash-for-clunkers but then realized for one reason or another their car didn’t qualify. We looked at putting an incentive package together that appealed to everybody.”
Chrysler will begin running a nationwide TV advertising campaign to promote the program beginning July 24 and print ads will be placed in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.