Chrysler Group LLC on Friday launched a year-end sale for nearly all of its 2010 model year vehicles with zero percent financing or up to $4,000 cash to draw customers during the typically slower winter months.
Chrysler, which emerged from a U.S. government-funded bankruptcy in June under the management control of Italy's Fiat SpA, said the program runs to Jan. 4. It covers nearly all vehicles except the Dodge Challenger muscle car.
Chrysler has fared worse than the U.S. auto industry overall this year as the sector has slumped to the worst sales levels since the early 1980s. Through October, Chrysler sales were off 39 percent, while the industry was down 25.4 percent.
Earlier in November, Chrysler announced a five-year plan that would have the automaker break even on an operating basis in 2010 and on a net basis by 2011 based in part on restoring market share lost in its slide toward bankruptcy.
Chrysler has relied on more aggressive incentives than rivals during the downturn. Edmunds.com has said the true cost of Chrysler incentives in October were about $3,219 per vehicle sold, compared with a $2,468 industry average.
The automaker has about 183,000 vehicles in inventory, with roughly 88 percent as 2010 models and nearly all of the rest 2009 model year vehicles.
For the year-end program, Chrysler is offering $3,000 cash or zero percent financing on 2010 Chrysler brand vehicles. It is offering $4,000 cash or zero percent financing on Jeeps and $2,500 cash or zero percent financing on most Dodge cars.
Chrysler is also offering 1.9 percent financing for 60 months on its Dodge Viper sports car.
Chrysler is offering $2,500 cash and low or zero percent financing on 2010 Ram pickups and up to $5,500 cash or zero percent financing on most 2009 Ram trucks.
About 20 percent of the Ram light pickup truck inventory consist of 2009 models and the rest the 2010 model. Ram has been competing with pickup sales programs from rivals General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co in recent months.
(Reporting by David Bailey, editing by Dave Zimmerman)