Chrysler Matches Washington With New Cash Offer

Chrysler/cash for clunkersChrysler is matching the government's "Cash for Clunkers" Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) offer with one of its own. The Auburn Hills, Mich. automaker's new incentive offers up to $4,500 off any 2009 model-year Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle.

A Chrysler spokesperson affirms that the program, "Double Ca$h for Your Old Car," is available to anyone shopping a new vehicle, and that the offer is in addition to the government's program, which offers a government credit of either $3,500 or $4,500 for trading in an inefficient vehicle that is not more than 25 years old for the purchase of a new vehicle.

Chrysler's incentive, timed to the official start of the CARS program on Thursday, offers either the cash or 0% financing for 72 months through GMAC Financial Services and is valid through Aug. 31.

The spokesperson also says that the offer replaces existing incentives on specific Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. Thus, if a shopper trading in under the cash-for-clunkers program gets the full $4,500 from the government, the total discount could be $9,000.

The effort is being supported by a national TV, print, radio and interactive campaign, via BBDO, launching Friday. The television buy is both national and local, with creative discussing the combined benefits of the government's offer and Chrysler's additional incentive.

The first of several spots for the program is a "tri-branded" spot featuring Dodge Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler Town and Country. That ad will be followed by brand-specific ones for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. Chrysler is also buying full-page newspaper ads in 50 top markets, as well as in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

A new study suggests the "Clunkers" program may indeed have wheels. Redwood City, Calif.-based Dealix, an automotive dealer lead-service company, has released a dealer survey conducted earlier this week in which three out of ten dealers report having made a sale involving a "Clunkers" voucher even though the rules about how the program will be administered will not be issued until Friday.

Ninety percent of dealers that responded to the survey said consumers had either low or moderate awareness of the program; two-thirds said information given to dealers up to this point is "insufficient." Sixty-eight percent of dealers said the CARS program has boosted traffic to showrooms, and that buyer interest is strong and nearly that many reported an increase in interest among Web surfers.

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