Infiniti offers zero-percent financing on 2008 models

DETROIT Wed Nov 5, 2008 2:40pm EST

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DETROIT Nov 5 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co's (7201.T) luxury Infiniti brand is offering zero-percent financing for 36 months on all 2008 models to help consumers sidelined by the credit market squeeze, the automaker said on Wednesday.

The roll-out of the annual year-end sales promotion aimed at clearing out inventory comes ahead of its typical December launch schedule.

Nissan provides vehicle financing through its captive finance arm, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, and increased discounts mean reduced profits for the automaker.

Nissan reported a 33 percent drop in U.S. sales for October on Monday, as industry-wide auto sales plunged to 25-year lows amid the lack of credit availability and record-low consumer confidence.

"We know there is still a demand for the luxury and performance of Infiniti automobiles, but with the negative consumer news of late, consumer perception is there's no financing available," said Ben Poore, vice president of marketing for Infiniti.

Infiniti also offers leasing as an alternative to traditional financing while some automakers have held back, Poore said.

General Motors Corp (GM.N), Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co (F.N) have curtailed vehicle leasing in response to tighter borrowing costs for their captive finance arms and tumbling values of trucks and SUVs.

The sharp drop in U.S. industry-wide auto sales in October raised the stakes for an immediate and aggressive round of discounting in November and December. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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