When the Canadian Loonie reached parity with the U.S. dollar a few weeks ago, consumers north of the border began to fully grasp how much more they are paying for automobiles nearly identical to those sold in the U.S. The Loonie has increased in value further since then, and the price disparity is now even more pronounced. Porsche was the first automaker to respond by lowering the retail prices of its entire lineup in Canada, but more mainstream automakers have been hesitant to change the MSRP on their vehicles. The solution appears to be increasing incentives on cars sold in Canada, which Chrysler recently announced it would do for all the cars and trucks it sells in Canada.

Canadian consumers could be paying anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars more for vehicles sold in their country versus the U.S., so Chrysler is jacking up incentives and cash rebates or slashing finance rates to make up for the difference. Beginning on November 1st, the automaker began increasing incentives by as much $5,250 or lowering finance rates so that consumers would save the same amount of money over the financing period. The linked article from The Toronto Star uses the 2007 Chrysler 300C as an example, which saw its cash rebate increase by $4,250 to a grand total of $9,250! Other models, like the new 2008 Grand Caravan, now carry a total rebate of $2,250.

Some automakers doing business in Canada like Honda and Toyota are expected to announce similar incentive increases this week. Others are sure to follow, especially considering a class-action lawsuit is in the works to address the price disparity from the legal end of things if automakers don't act quickly on their own.

[Source: The Toronto Star via The Truth About Cars, photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty]

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