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Old 09-05-2003, 07:40   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford plans dealer lottery for scarce GT supercar supply

By AMY WILSON | Automotive News

DETROIT - Most Americans must win a lottery to afford a $100,000-plus Ford GT. Next year, many Ford dealers must win a lottery to sell one.

Ford Division intends to produce just 1,500 GTs per year, but it has about 3,800 dealers in the United States.

Top-rated dealers, winners of the annual President's Award in 2004, will get one GT to sell, the company says. The rest of the GTs will be distributed among high-volume dealers and to winners of a lottery.

Typically, about 10 percent, or 380, dealers win the President's Award each year for high customer satisfaction and other ratings.

The specifics of the allocation plan will be spelled out to dealers after Jan. 1, Ford spokesman Jim Cain says.

The GT, inspired by Ford's Le Mans racecars from the 1960s, goes into production next spring.

With this system, some dealers could receive more than one GT and fewer than 1,000 dealers may get a GT, says Marty Collins, general marketing manager of Ford Division.

But all dealers, even the smallest rural store, will have a chance to get a GT, unusual for many low-volume vehicles. Many dealers already have had customers try to place deposits for the car.

"So every dealer will be begging to win the President's Award," says Michael Kennedy of John Kennedy Ford in Feasterville, Pa., and chairman of the Ford national dealers council.

Dealers don't have to worry that their President's Award chances will be hurt by customer complaints about Ford's new 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. Problems include faulty fuel injectors that cause diesel fuel to leak into engine oil in F-series Super Duty pickups.

Ford has complied with dealers' requests that feedback from buyers of the new diesel engine be exempted from those ratings, says Francisco Codina, vice president of Ford's customer service division.
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