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Fiat Chrysler plans new discounts on cars

Fiat Chrysler plans new discounts on cars

Apr 1, 2016

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU, FCA.MI) plans to boost discounts on struggling cars the auto maker eventually plans to stop making outright.

The company intends to offer 0% financing for 84 months on the 2016 model-year Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 starting Tuesday, according to three dealers who attended a meeting at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas on Friday. The dealers said the move was outlined by Fiat Chrysler North America sales chief Reid Bigland, who spoke during a presentation that also included other executives.

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A Fiat Chrysler spokesman declined to comment.

Dealers have told the company they are struggling to sell the vehicles as consumers flock to bigger sport-utility vehicles and trucks offered by the Jeep and Ram brands. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has said he intends to stop making the two nameplates in the U.S., which may have caused some shoppers to question the viability of the models. Mr. Marchionne has talked about partnering with another auto maker to build the 200 and Dart outside the U.S. but has declined to provide details.

Dodge Dart sales fell 44% during the month of March to 5,349 vehicles compared with the same time period a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp. Chrysler 200 sales fell 68% to 6,176. Fiat Chrysler previously cut production of the cars by idling the factory where they are built. The company increased the time the plant will be closed to a total of 10 weeks ending April 11, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

Cars generally are proving tough sales amid historically-low gasoline prices. Industry-tracking firm J.D. Power took the unusual step Thursday of recommending auto makers significantly reduce incentives on new cars and trim production.

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