September 17, 2009

Chrysler returns to leasing cars

U.S automaker Chrysler Group said it would return to leasing automobiles a year after suspending the practice due to falling vehicle resale prices.

From January to August, Chrysler's sales are off 39 percent from the same period a year ago, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said Wednesday at the Frankfurt auto show that, we are going to see a harsh reality in September, the newspaper said.

But dealers hailed the return to leasing.

We're back from the abyss, said Alan Helfman, vice president of a dealership in Houston.

Chrysler said all 2010 models would have leasing options with special rates through the end of the month on some models.

Leasing allows vehicles to be returned to the dealership when the lease expires. The practice was halted a year ago when plunging resale prices, especially on large vehicles, meant large losses for finance companies.

General Motors recently reinstated leasing through GMAC and U.S. Bank, the newspaper said.