IN A YEAR when the trucks did not change much, most of the news from Dodge Truck for 1999 involved money.
Dodge announced two programs during its portion of the NTEA Truck Product Conference. One involves financing the sale. A second is an incentive program designed to encourage customers to buy commercial truck equipment.
The Commercial Finance Options (CFO) program is a new tool to help Dodge dealers to compete in the commercial truck business, said Dodge's Terry Goode. An alternative to conventional financing, the program will be administered through Chrysler Financial in Southfield, Michigan.
Prospects for CFO include fleets, small and mid-size businesses, municipalities, and public and private institutions. Customers needing unconventional financing to make payments on a seasonal basis also are candidates for CFO.
A wide range of Dodge vehicles are eligible for the program. Typically it will be a commercial truck such as a Dodge Ram van with interior package or a chassis cab installed with truck body and equipment.
Terms are flexible and include vehicle purchases or leases.
Goode also announced an incentive program for commercial equipment. Truck equipment customers are eligible for incentives under the Dodge "On the Job" program for commercial trucks. Chassis cabs without a body or equipment qualify for $300, a free five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain service contract, or a $500 toolbox. If the truck is upfitted with at least $1,500 of truck body and equipment, the customer can receive $800.
For the Dodge Ram van, customers can receive up to $1,250 for a Crown shelving package.
The two programs come at a time when Dodge sales already are high. Through the first eight months of 1998, Dodge sold 1,242,000 cars and trucks, up 11% over the previous model year to date.
For Dodge Truck, sales were 925,784, up 19% from last year. Among those trucks, 354,000 were Dodge Ram trucks, up 11%. Dodge Dakota had sales of 137,000 pickups, up 21%. Dodge sold 113,000 Durango sport utility vehicles, a new model that was not sold during the comparable period of 1997.