AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — In Chrysler's August sales report, the company said that while sales are down 34 percent from last year, they are up 12 percent over July thanks to enhanced financing offers, efforts to shift lease-oriented customers to purchasing and leasing via independent financial institutions.

Moreover, the company indicated there was "better demand for key vehicles."

While Chrysler Financial no longer offers leasing options to Chrysler customers, these shoppers are still able to lease Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products through independent financial institutions and qualify for available discounts, according to officials.

"The industry is changing rapidly in terms of what vehicles and features customers want and the leasing and financing options available to them," explained Jim Press, Chrysler's vice chairman and president.

In fact, for those customers who still wish to lease a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle through an independent financial institution, they can take advantage of Chrysler's Customer Cash Allowance on select vehicles up to $2,000.

Returning lease customers will receive a Lease Loyalty incentive up to $750 for use toward the retail purchase of an eligible new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle in September. The disposition fee, up to $425, will be waived by Chrysler Financial, executives highlighted.

Overall, August U.S. sales came in at 110,235 units, down 34 percent from the same period last year. According to the company, August sales reflect an industry-wide slowdown, segment shifts and reduced fleet sales.

Compared with July 2008, however, Chrysler's August sales increased 12 percent.

"To help consumers, we are offering some of our most popular vehicles at significant savings," Press pointed out. "In August, we saw this formula generate new signs of momentum on vehicles like our Chrysler and Dodge minivans, Dodge Ram light-duty trucks and Jeep Liberty. In September, we will continue to offer competitive values and showcase dynamic new vehicles like the 2009 Dodge Challenger, and hybrid Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs," he added.

More specifically, Chrysler's 'Shop 'til You Drive Sales Event' continues through Sept. 30, offering up to 40 percent off MSRP on select vehicles, and zero percent APR for 72 months on the 2008 Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander.

"Especially strong values are available on Dodge Ram pickup trucks, with up to $9,000 discounts in select markets," officials noted.

In September, customers can continue to take advantage of consumer bonus cash of $2,000 on select retail purchases when financed through Chrysler Financial.

Overall, the company said it finished the month with 380,560 units of inventory, or a 93-day supply.

As part of a planned reduction in manufacturing and capacity, inventory is down 15 percent compared with August 2007, when it totaled 446,249 units, they concluded.