|Just three months out of bankruptcy, Chrysler Group is preparing for a likely return to consumer leasing, say auto dealer sources briefed on the plan by the company.
The leases, which will originate with GMAC Financial Services, will be offered only on select vehicles. Probable vehicles include the Dodge Journey crossover, Nitro SUV, Ram pickup and Grand Caravan minivan; Jeep Liberty SUV; and Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
Chrysler is waiting until after Tuesday, when the Automotive Lease Guide issues its latest residual-value numbers, to make final decisions, the sources said. Leasing could be relaunched as early as Sept. 18 if a plan is approved.
Chrysler was forced to stop leasing at midnight July 31, 2008, after its captive finance company, Chrysler Financial, was unable to renew its full line of credit.
The loss of leasing cost Chrysler dearly and was a key milestone in a chain of events that eventually drove the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 30.
When Chrysler discontinued leasing, its U.S. market share stood at 11.3 percent. That number declined to 11.0 percent by the end of last year. Chrysler now holds a 9.2 percent share.