Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Ford Offers Cash, Financing Incentives on New F-150 Pickup

December 8, 2003

Ford has introduced a $1,000 cash rebate and zero percent interest loans on its new F-150 pickup truck, its most important vehicle, only three months after launch, according to the Financial Times (FT).The paper said the move indicated that many U.S. consumers expect Detroit carmakers to offer incentives on new products, rather than just older models that dealers are trying to clear. It is also a sign that Ford's most important new vehicle is already succumbing to discounting pressure, which may erode its margins, the paper added.The FT noted that Ford executives had said before the F-150 was launched in September that they expected some discounting but indicated that cash rebates were unlikely.The paper said the F-150 has been Ford's most profitable vehicle for years, selling 800,000 units last year, making it the best-selling vehicle in the world.Lucretia Bock, general manager of Seguin Ford Mercury, a medium-sized dealership near San Antonio, Texas, told the FT that Ford advised dealers on Thursday night that the vehicle would now be offered with a choice of $1,000 so-called "cash back", or a three-year, zero percent loan."We hear a lot of customers saying they're waiting for Ford to put some cash on it. The consumer is accustomed to rebates so that drives them to hold off and Ford's being responsive to that," she said, according to the paper.The FT noted that Ford had previously offered a $1,000 discount to owners of the old F-150 model but the new incentive applies to all buyers.Ford spokeswoman Marci Byrn told the Financial Times the move was also partly a response to the heavy incentives offered on pickup trucks by Ford's competitors.The paper noted that F-series pickup sales were up 10 percent in November compared to last year, with sales of the new F-150 representing 36 percent of the total, a 33 percent increase over the proportion in October.
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