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Fiat, GM offer discounts, online sales to try and boost slow auto sales

Fiat, GM offer discounts, online sales to try and boost slow auto sales
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Fiat Chrysler and General Motors are offering seven-year, no interest loans and online sales to try to boost slow auto sales as millions of Americans are under stay-at-home orders.

Fiat Chrysler’s “Drive Forward” marketing program that began Wednesday allows consumers to buy vehicles online and from “the comfort of their homes.”  A spokesman told Reuters this is the first time users will be able to buy a car through a Fiat dealer completely online.

The online system also permits customers to buy vehicles off dealer lots, trade in their old vehicles and apply for loans. The company is also promoting no payments for 90 days on certain 2019 and 2020 vehicles.

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This and GM’s “Shop. Click. Drive.” campaign announced last month reflect GM’s “Keep America Rolling” campaign that sought to help the consumer market after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Reuters noted.

The “Shop. Click. Drive.” campaign allows GM customers to buy vehicles and schedule a home delivery. A spokeswoman told Reuters that GM has seen two to four times greater online site visits and sales than before the pandemic with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

The automakers have traditionally avoided online sales to allow franchised dealers to control sales. 

Both companies experienced losses in March as the coronavirus started to pummel the economy. Fiat experienced a 10 percent drop in the first quarter sales, while GM said sales decreased 7 percent.