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Old 09-08-2003, 07:30   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford Division keeps rebates modest on 2004s

By Amy Wilson
Automotive News / September 08, 2003

DETROIT - Despite last week's rebate increases at the Chrysler group and General Motors, Ford Division mostly is holding back on large incentives for 2004 models - for now.

Incentives on 2003 models are expected to remain the same through the end of September, after the company last week bumped up rebates by $500 on 2003 Explorers and Expeditions. Ford Motor Co. wants to avoid compromising sales of remaining 2003 models by jacking up rebates on 2004 models.

Incentives on 2004 models "aren't likely to change dramatically until closer to the final days of the 2003 model year selldown," Ford spokesman Jim Cain says.

Most 2004 Ford models carry a $500 rebate, though Ford last week boosted rebates on the 2004 Escape to $1,500 and on the 2004 Expedition to $1,000. A few models, such as the redesigned 2004 F-150, F-series Super Duty pickups, Mustang and Thunderbird, carry no cash incentive for 2004. The rebates expire Sept. 30.

At Lincoln Mercury, marketers are getting a little more aggressive with customer cash. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Lincoln Mercury added $500 cash and cut finance rates for several 2004 models by 1 percentage point. The changes boosted cash on the 2004 Lincoln Aviator and Navigator to $1,000, cash on the 2004 Lincoln LS to $1,500 and cash on the 2004 Lincoln Town Car to $3,000.

"It's a response to ongoing competitiveness in the market," says Lincoln Mercury spokesman Todd Nissen.

Rebates on 2003 models, though, remain much higher. The division, for instance, increased the cash offer on its 2003 SUVs from $3,000 to $3,500 last week. Lincoln Mercury also slightly enhanced a dealer cash program for September that offers payment of as much as $1,500 per vehicle sold in some cases.

Still, Nissen says other types of marketing programs were reduced to offset the improved offers of cash and cut-rate financing.

Says Nissen: "Not all of this is brand-new money."
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