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Chrysler plans 6-year, no-interest loans

The DaimlerChrysler AG's dealers were told the financing will be offered until Sept. 30 and will be limited to people with „very good” credit ratings, Alan Helfman, vice president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, said yesterday. Kevin McCormick, a Chrysler spokesman, declined to comment. „They have to have very good credit but this allows people who want a car that's more expensive to get into it very cheaply,” Helfman said. Chrysler joins General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. in using no-interest loans for up to six years as their US sales decline and they try to help dealers make room for 2007 models. Joseph Straub, a Chrysler Jeep dealer in Haverford, Pennsylvania said, he expects the automaker to also boost rebates and provide dealer incentives to close deals in the next two months.

„Chrysler has a lot of product to move,” Straub said. „They will have incentives to make the deal.” Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler's sales and marketing chief, said Aug. 30 that he's confident the automaker's market share will improve in the fourth quarter. Chrysler will limit the new loan offer to buyers rated A, the top ranking, by the automaker's finance arm, Helfman said. Ford sales analyst George Pipas said on Aug. 29 that the six-year loans have helped bolster sales of large sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks. „That's not sustainable” because demand for trucks remains weak, in part because of high gasoline prices, Pipas said. The incentives caused some consumers to buy pickups and SUVs earlier than they would have otherwise, he said. GM's current offers, also scheduled to expire Sept. 5, include rebates of as much as $7,000 and no-interest loans of as long as six years on many 2006 models. The US shares of Stuttgart, Germany-based DaimlerChrysler rose 11 cents to $52.78 at 4:17 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have gained 3.4% this year. (Bloomberg)