AUBURN HILLS, Mich.  As Chrysler shifts its focus from leasing to retail purchasing, the automaker announced that it is repackaging its incentives to make purchasing a vehicle more affordable.

The new strategy includes 72-month finance deals on an expanded range of compact, midsize and full-size vehicles, officials explained. Basically, the program is designed to offer retail payments similar to 36-month lease payments, with lower than previously offered finance payments.  

The key to these new incentives is allowing customers to get lower payments with the benefits of ownership, according to the company.

The company said it is able to achieve this by repackaging incentive resources from leasing to retail. Helping achieve these low-finance payments are special retail finance rates and a bonus consumer cash program in which customers can now receive up to $2,000 cash back on select retail purchases when financed through Chrysler Financial.

"As part of our annual August model-year clearance, we are leveraging the move from leasing to retail purchases to offer our customers the best deals of the year and make buying as affordable as renting," explained Jim Press, vice chairman and president.

"We have re-packaged our incentive spending typically spent on leasing into retail purchase packages to lower monthly payments on select vehicles from the Dodge Caliber and Dodge Charger to the Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep Liberty. With the model-year ending on 2008 vehicles, the time to buy has never been better," he indicated.

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. The disposition fee, up to $425, will be waived by Chrysler Financial.

Special deals for August also include the continuation of zero-percent APR for 72-month deals on the Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander.

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.

The company also announced its "Shop ‘Til You Drive Sales Event" sales promotion campaign, which consists of new television ads, radio spots, a new national print campaign and Internet promotions.

Officials said these initiatives are intended to substantially increase awareness and consideration levels of retail purchases.

New Funding Facility

In other news, on Monday, Chrysler Financial announced that it has completed the renewal of its annual credit facilities.

The $24 billion credit facilities provide funding for the company's dealer and consumer financial services products.

Originally, the company was seeking a renewal of its conduit credit facilities in the amount of $30 billion. Chrysler Financial reduced the amount required due to conditions in the credit markets and changes in the company's retail strategy.

"We are pleased with the completion of our credit facilities renewal and the continuing confidence in our company demonstrated by the banking community," said Tom Gilman, executive vice chairman of Chrysler Financial.

"Ninety percent of all banks that were part of the original conduit participated in the renewal. The liquidity provided by these facilities will enable us to support our dealers and their retail customers," he continued.

Gilman went on to add, "I would like to thank our investors who have continued to support us through the renewal. And, I would like to acknowledge the skilled leadership of Citi, JPMorgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland who led the syndication of the loan facilities and partnered with us to manage such a large transaction."

"Getting this world-class financing done in this market is a validation of Chrysler Financial and Chrysler, their management and their strategic plans," said James B. Lee Jr., vice chairman of JPMorgan.

Chad Leat, chairman of Citi's Alternative Asset Group, noted, "The depth and breadth of participation in this transaction was impressive, particularly in the current market environment."