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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: U.S. automakers are expected to release some sobering sales figures today. Chrysler is one of a number of companies offering zero-percent financing to goose sales. But Janet Babin says buyers are starting to expect special deals.

JANET BABIN: Chrysler had been offering buyers its employee discount this summer, but sales still fell 37 percent in July.

So today the company begins its zero-percent financing offer in hopes of turning things around. Ford and GM are running similar deals.

David Sedgwick is editor of Automotive News. He says automakers' losses mounted after they offered similar incentives last year. But he says they have no choice but try again:

DAVID SEDGWICK:"There's heavy inventories of unsold vehicles that the big three have to push out the door somehow."

An additional year of financing, to 6 years, will lower monthly payments, but Sedgwick says consumers have to realize that the car might not be worth as much when they go to resell it.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.