Ford offers $600 rebate on 16 models $2,000 off Bronco also in incentive plan

January 10, 1996|By Ted Shelsby J JTC | Ted Shelsby J JTC,SUN STAFF

With hopes of pumping new life into sluggish sales, Ford Motor Co. yesterday said it is offering customer rebates of $600 or 4.8 percent financing on most of its cars and light trucks.

But the part of the incentive plan that might have the most appeal to Maryland motorists -- particularly at this time -- is $2,000 off the snow-busting, four-wheel-drive Bronco sport utility vehicle.

The incentive package is one of Ford's broadest in recent years and is not scheduled to expire until April 2.

Customers will receive $600 rebates on 16 models of Ford and Mercury cars and light trucks, including the company's newly redesigned Taurus -- which has posted disappointing sales since its introduction in September.

Joel Pitcoff, a spokesman for Ford, said Taurus sales were off about 35 percent in December when compared with those for the old-style vehicle in the same month of 1994.

Ford invested $2.8 billion to dramatically redesign the Taurus, the best-selling car in the country each of the past four years. The car is credited with bringing the company back from the brink of bankruptcy in the mid-1980s.

In lieu of the cash rebate, motorists may receive a 4.8 percent annual rate on a 48-month financing plan or apply the cash refund to the company's 24-month vehicle leasing plan.

Ford's decision was well received by dealers. "We definitely need it," said Stanley M. Goldsberry, president of Archway Ford on Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore.

"Incentives build traffic. They get people coming in the door looking at cars and driving cars," he said.

They also tend to accelerate purchases, Mr. Goldsberry said.

Ford is not the only automaker offering rebates to boost sales. Chrysler Corp. started an incentive program in November, offering $500 rebates on its Neon, Cirrus and Stratus models, according to Bloomberg News Service.

Rebates of $1,000 will go to buyers of Intrepids, Concordes and Visions, and $2,500 on the Chrysler LHS.

L The incentives are effective through the end of next month.

General Motors Corp. offers rebates of from $300 to $1,000 on certain models, including the Buick Century, Chevrolet Corsica and Beretta, Geo Metro and Tracker, the Lumina minivan, S-10 pickup truck, Pontiac Trans Sport and Grand Prix sedan.

Some of the import dealers, including Toyota, Nissan, Honda Suzuki and Mitsubishi, are offering some form of manufacturer or dealer incentive programs on selected models.

Ford's plan applies to all vehicles except its F-series pickup trucks, the Explorer, Aspire, Crown Victoria, Mustang and the three models of the Lincoln.

Ford's car sales were off 7.3 percent last year, while light truck sales were up 7.3 percent.

Ford posted the worst sales figures of the domestic automakers last month, when the company sold 9.4 percent fewer vehicles than in the same period of 1994.

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