updated 9/6/2005 6:25:53 PM ET 2005-09-06T22:25:53

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday ended its employee-pricing incentive on 2006 vehicles, although the discount will remain in place for most 2005 vehicles through Oct. 3.

Ford has been allowing customers to pay the employee price for 2005 vehicles since July. In August, it added the 2006 Ford Escape, Ford Expedition, Ford Econoline and Lincoln Navigator to the discount plan, but Ford removed those 2006 models from the plan on Tuesday.

Ford announced last week it was extending its employee-pricing plan through Sept. 30, but said Tuesday it will now end the plan on Oct. 3. Ford was following the lead of DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, which announced last week that its employee-pricing plan would expire Oct. 3. General Motors Corp., which began the employee-pricing craze in June, has said its plan will end Sept. 30.

The Big Three U.S. automakers saw a huge increase in sales over the summer thanks to the discount programs, but all have said they want to rely less on incentives as they roll out 2006 models. Ford and GM lowered overall prices on many of their 2006 models in an effort to move away from incentives.

“We need to move beyond this. We’ve been pretty consistent in saying this shouldn’t become an everyday program,” Ford spokesman Jim Cain said last week.

GM is including some 2006 sport utility vehicles and full-size trucks to its employee-discount plan. Chrysler hasn’t added 2006 vehicles to its plan.

Ford also said Tuesday it’s adding a $1,000 cash-back incentive to some of its 2005 models. Ford’s Mustang coupe, Five Hundred sedan, Freestyle crossover and Escape Hybrid SUV are among the models excluded from that offer.

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