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Old 12-30-2003, 06:06   #1 (permalink)
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Dealer bidding war starts for Ford GT

Detroit News
By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

LOS ANGELES — Chalk up another Ford Motor Co. victory over Ferrari.

When Ford’s 500-hp GT supercar arrives in dealer showrooms next summer, its base sticker price will be $139,995 — about $14,000 less than the Ferrari 360 Modena against which the Ford two-seater was benchmarked.

The automaker’s 3,850 dealers are waiting — many with orders in hand — to see who will get one of the 3,500 units Ford plans to build before the GT goes out of production in 2005.

Ford will decide which dealers will be allowed to sell the car by the end of the first quarter, said Martin Collins, Ford division general marketing manager.

“We have dealers who have taken deposits of more than $10,000 from customers, and they don’t know if they’re going to get one,” Collins said.

There are three ways a dealer can acquire a GT, Collins said: recording high overall sales volumes, qualifying for a “president’s award” for superior customer service and winning a lottery.

About 700 prospective buyers have bypassed Ford dealers and appealed directly to company executives, including Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr.

The Ford GT is a road-ready remake of the Ford GT40 race cars that conquered Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France in 1960s.

Ford will build the GT at its plant in Wixom, where the Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln LS and Town Car are produced.
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