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Ford, Chrysler Rolled Out New Rebates

The Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group go back to that old standby of auto retailing - giving incentives. This is the automakers' way of getting away from the enduring nosedives and pulling sales up.

Ford earlier announced a new package of incentives to match a more aggressive advertising campaign. Chrysler, on the other hand, is now offering a free upgrade to a HEMI engine. The deal is part of the automaker's March "Truck Month" promotion which also features cash incentives.

As previously reported, the new ad campaign of Ford, which is dubbed as the "Ford Challenge", builds on the success of its "Fusion Challenge" ads, which have started airing in January. To add a dash of spice to the deal, Ford is offering prospective Ford Fusion customers a unique 39-month "Sign and Drive" Red Carpet lease on the Fusion SE I-4 with payments of $249 a month. The deal waives the first month's payment and does not require money down. Ford Fusion purchasers could also opt for a 2.9 percent financing for 60 months or $1,000 in customer cash. For the Ford Expedition, the automaker's new incentives include 3.9 percent financing for 60 months or $2,000 in customer cash.

Ford is also launching news ads to promote the Ford F-series, its bread and butter vehicle. The Ford F-series ads feature Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channels popular "Dirty Jobs" which is a documentary series. To promote the pickup truck series, Toby Keith, a country music superstar, will join Rowe.

To further boost the sales of Ford F-150 pickup, the most popular variant of the F-series, Ford is offering its customers $3,000 in cash or 0 percent financing for 60 months on all 2007 models except for the limited edition Harley-Davidson SuperCrew. The new incentives rolled out by Ford will run through April 2.

In order to face the auto battle squarely, Chrysler also started offering some new incentives of its own. It will also be offering free upgrade to a HEMI engine as part of its March "Truck Month" promotion. In the said promotion, purchasers of a Dodge Ram, Durango or Dakota for this month will get one of the well-liked powerplants at no extra charge. Aside from this, they will receive up to $5,000 in consumer cash on the Ram and $2,000 on the Durango. Purchasers of the Dodge Dakota will also receive $2,000 in cash. Chrysler is also offering $1,000 in bonus cash on the Jeep Cherokee, Commander Limited and the Liberty.

"Chrysler is relying on deals like this to ease its inventory problems. They'll deny it until the end, but they've been putting on the incentives pretty heavily," said analyst Rebecca Lindland of Global Insight.

General Motors Corp. did not announce any new promotions for this month however it has increased sales incentives last month. Paul Ballew, GM's chief sales analyst, declined to specify the magnitude of the increase. Ballew said, "We're going to stay competitive in March and we'll see how the industry plays out."

Detroit-based automakers are improving their vehicle lineup by upgrading auto parts auto and accessories like axle assembly, DC sports cold air intake, wheels, brakes as well as other car system. Even if they have previously announced to cut back on incentive spending, analysts say they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. "The domestics can't eliminate them all together," Alex Rosten of Edmunds.com said.

About The Author Given her background on cars as an auto insurance director, Lauren Woods finds the world of cars to be constantly changing.
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