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Chrysler Throws Caution To The Wind, Jumps Back Into Leasing Game

September 16, 2009
2009 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V

2009 Dodge Grand Caravan C/V

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 ST

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 ST

2009 Jeep Wrangler

2009 Jeep Wrangler

Moving cars out of factories and off dealer lots is the fundamental premise of the industry, whether it's done by sales, leases or fleet deals. But when your company is threatened by inevitable bankruptcy and low resale value makes leasing a costly proposition for the manufacturer, some corners must be cut. That's what Chrysler did earlier this year. But now they're back, offering leases via GMAC.

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles will all be elegible under the leasing option through GMAC Financial Services starting this Thursday.

The return to leasing is likely hoped to help drive sales. The boost from the government's cash for clunkers program hasn't completely fallen away, but it hasn't maintained full incentive-rush levels, either. Most carmakers are cautiously predicting a slow rise in the market over the coming year, and to take advantage of it, Chrysler will need offer every avenue it can to maximize vehicle turnover.

While it's fairly safe to assume Chrysler and new investor Fiat have both had their accountants run the numbers, the problem of vehicle depreciation with leasing may yet rear its head again. Low resale values for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products could mean the company will have to either charge higher monthly payments for its vehicles than would otherwise be competitive to fully cover the depreciation, or end up with vehicles returned at the end of the lease term that aren't worth as much as they ought to be, forcing the company to eat the costs.

Nevertheless, Chrysler is confident it needs to be involved in leasing. “Our ability to offer additional financing options will benefit consumers who have long been fans of leasing and appreciate the flexibility this financing option gives them," said Peter Fong, president and CEO for Chrysler Brand and lead executive of the Sales Organization at Chrysler.

Lease offers will start from September 17th on all 2010 model year vehicles available in the U.S. Special lease rates to promote the return to leasing are available on the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Ram 1500 and Journey and the Jeep Wrangler and Liberty.

Other new incentives announced today include 0% financing for up to 72 months or up to $4,500 cash back on some 2009 model year Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles, plus up to $3,000 cash back on some 2010

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