updated 6/17/2005 9:23:53 AM ET 2005-06-17T13:23:53

In its latest gambit to boost slumping sales, Ford Motor Co. is offering employees and retirees up to $1,000 in cash to entice friends, relatives and neighbors to buy vehicles with employee discounts.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker is allowing each of its 300,000 employees and retirees to give the special discounts to up to eight people this year, The Detroit News reported Friday.

"If every employee and retiree helps sell just one more vehicle, it would account for over 300,000 sales and an additional two points of market share," Steve Lyons, vice president for Ford's North America marketing, sales and service, said in an e-mail sent Wednesday to employees.

A Ford spokesman did immediately return a message left by The Associated Press Friday.

Under the plan, which runs through Sept. 30, employees and retirees will get $50 in cash for the first sale they sponsor, $75 for the second, $100 for the third, $150 for the following four sales and $175 for the eighth sale.

Ford's move follows General Motors Corp.'s recent effort to boost sales by offering all customers the same discounts available to employees.

Ford sales are off 5.7 percent this year, while its U.S. market share has fallen by a percentage point, to 19.1 percent.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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