Chrysler unveils deep discounts

Buyers will get 'employee-pricing' on almost all models, plus low-interest financing and rebates.

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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

Employee pricing on a 2009 Dodge Ram cuts the sticker price by about 13%. Combined with other discounts, buyers can save nearly $9,000, according to Chrysler.

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NEW YORK ( -- Chrysler LLC, which suffered a 30% drop in sales last year, announced a massive new incentive program to move vehicles off dealers' lots.

The carmaker will begin marketing the incentive plans, called "Employee Pricing Plus," in ads on Monday.

Under the program, all 2008 and 2009 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles will be available at prices similar to those Chrysler employees pay -- typically thousands of dollars below the sticker price.

In addition, customers will receive discounts of up to $3,500 on 2009 vehicles and $6,000 on 2008 models.

The Dodge Sprinter work van is the only vehicle specifically excluded from the program, according to Chrysler's announcement.

An additional $1,000 rebate is also available on vehicles financed through Chrysler Financial, Chrysler's financing arm, or through a customer's local credit union.

These latest incentives come on top of a 0% financing program Chrysler announced last Friday, just hours after the U.S. Treasury Department said it would lend Chrysler Financial $1.5 billion. The 0% offer applies to select Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles for loans of not more than four years.

The $1.5 billion low-interest loan to Chrysler Financial was separate from the Treasury Department's $4 billion loan to Chrysler LLC itself.

The financing portion of this plan will be crucial to its success, said Jesse Toprak, a vehicle pricing analyst with the automotive Website The inability to get a car loan has driven many potential buyers out of the car market, he said.

"Employee pricing will get people into showrooms," he said, "but financing will sell cars."

Chrysler recently announced a planned alliance with Italy's Fiat under which Fiat will take a 35% ownership stake in Chrysler LLC. Although no cash will change hands, Chrysler will get access to Fiat engineering and Fiat will be able to use Chrysler factories and its dealer network in the United States.

Ford has been offering a similar program, also called "Employee Pricing Plus," since Nov. 19, 2008. Under its incentive program, Ford is also offering vehicles at Ford employee prices with additional cash rebates of up to $6,000 on some 2008 models and $2,500 on some 2009 models. To top of page

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