AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler is now offering zero-percent financing for consumers who have slightly less than top prime credit, but still fall into the A category, a spokesman announced this morning.

The special incentive includes several high volume 2006 models, including minivans, Dodge Durangos and Jeep Commanders.

"We're opening the door to a larger group of people who have strong credit, but not perfect credit," Kevin McCormick, a Chrysler spokesman, said this morning.

Chrysler's zero-percent financing started Sept. 1 and will run through Oct. 2. Part of the reasoning behind the incentive is to clear out 2006 models to make room for 2007 vehicles, according to McCormick.

Additionally, McCormick explained, "This is also just to respond to the marketplace in the sense that interest rates are creeping up to higher status and we felt like this could really positively impact consumers' budgets. This offers a monthly price point that really works for us and the consumers."

Chrysler is following in Ford's footsteps, as the Dearborn-based automaker recently rolled out a similar incentive program called the Labor Day Sales Event, which featured zero-percent financing even for consumers with subprime credit ratings, several Ford spokeswomen confirmed recently.