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New Chrysler program will save CU members thousands
LIVONIA, Mich. (11/4/09)--Chrysler Group LLC and America’s credit unions are offering new discounts through the “Invest in America” program. The discounts started Tuesday and will run through Nov. 30. The program will offer “Affiliate Rewards” to credit union members. Knowing the loyalty credit union members have toward domestic vehicles, the partnership is expected to match members with Chrysler Group LLC’s line of vehicles. Credit union members will receive preferred pricing on all 2009 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck vehicles and select 2010 vehicles. The discounts are available regardless of where members gain financing. More than 2,000 credit unions in all 50 states have been promoting “Invest in America” discounts, driving members back to domestic automakers. “The goal of the program is to support U.S. jobs, U.S. families and U.S. companies,” David Adams, CEO of CUcorp, a national credit union marketing company, told a teleconference Tuesday. “The program will save credit union members thousands of dollars on eligible 2009 and 2010 vehicles. The preferred pricing for credit union members will be 1% below the dealer invoice price. It will be a ‘no haggling discount.’ “The program will bring savings to 90 million credit union members and also is a tremendous incentive to buy a domestic vehicle,” Adams added. CUcorp research shows that almost 40% of credit union members who bought vehicles through the “Invest in America” program previously owned a competitor’s brand. The research also shows that members overwhelmingly found the discount to be very important in their decision to purchase a domestic vehicle. “Credit unions will benefit from the program because they are the low-cost providers of auto loans and will pick up some auto loans,” Adams said. “Hopefully this program will expand into December and also 2010 in some form or another.” All U.S. automakers are reporting an uptick in sales volume because consumers are buying more, Adams added. “We’re happy with the progress in sales for domestic automakers and credit unions’ involvement in it,” he said. Credit unions’ share of auto financing, spurred in part by the “Invest in America” discounts, is growing nationwide, CUcorp said. In Michigan, credit unions’ outstanding auto loans grew 32% from June 2008 to June 2009, a record for credit unions. Because of conservative lending strategies and their not-for-profit structure, credit unions are strong and have money to lend to their members, despite the national credit crunch, CUcorp said. Credit unions have financed more than $3.1 billion worth of vehicles through the “Invest in America” program. Historically, credit unions offer lower loan rates than other financial institutions. The average credit union loan rate is 5.8% compared with 7% for the average bank rate, according to a Datatrac survey of more than 17,000 financial institutions. “Invest in America” is also offering discounts with General Motors; Sprint; Thor Industries, a U.S. recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer; and Allied Moving and Storage. FTD Florists and CU Benefits are the newest partners to offer credit union discounts through the “Invest in America” program. Those partnerships’ discounts were effective Sunday.
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