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Ford announces new incentives program

Ford Motor Co. announced a new consumer incentives program on Wednesday, hoping to lure more customers into showrooms with better deals on its cars and trucks.
/ Source: Reuters

Ford Motor Co. Wednesday said it boosted cash rebates and lowered interest rates on some new car purchases, following a similar move by General Motors Corp. earlier this month.

Ford, which may have been passed by Toyota Motor Corp.  as the world’s second-largest automaker in 2003, said it was increasing cash rebates by $500 on some models, including its Expedition and Excursion sport utility vehicles.

Several Ford models, such as its Explorer SUV, continue carrying the $3,000 rebates offered through the holiday season.

Ford also lowered interest rates or extended zero-percent loan offers on some vehicles, including its new Freestar minivan. Ford did not change the incentives offered on its new F-150 pickup but did expand zero-percent loans on the older F-150 models and lowered interest rates on its SuperDuty F-Series pickups.

Last week, GM expanded its offers of interest-free loans for terms of up to five years on many of its models and added cash rebates of up to $3,500.

Despite record-breaking incentives, Detroit’s traditional Big Three automakers all lost U.S. market share last year. GM led the Big Three in offers last year, averaging $3,785 per vehicle in incentives, followed by DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler arm at $3,451 and Ford at $3,233.

Ford executives have said they expect the Ford brand to maintain its market share in 2004, relying on new models to make up for slower sales of older vehicles such as the Ford Taurus sedan.