Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group have announced a new package of incentives to complement a new, more aggressive advertising campaign, reported The Detroit News. Chrysler is offering a free upgrade to a HEMI engine as part of its March "Truck Month" promotion, in addition to cash incentives.
Ford is offering prospective Fusion customers a special 39-month "Sign and Drive" Red Carpet lease on the Fusion SE I-4 with payments of $249 a month. It requires no money down and waives the first month's payment. Alternatively, Fusion buyers can get 2.9 percent financing for 60 months or $1,000 in customer cash.
New incentives on the Expedition include $2,000 in customer cash or 3.9 percent financing for 60 months.
Ford also is launching a new series of ads to promote its F-series pickups featuring the company's newest celebrity pitchman, Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channels popular “Dirty Jobs.” Rowe will join country music superstar Toby Keith in promoting the pickups.
If they are not enough to convince people to give the F-150 a try, Ford is offering customers $3,000 in cash or 0 percent financing for 60 months on all 2007 F-150 models, except for the limited edition Harley-Davidson SuperCrew.
All of Ford's new incentive offers run through April 2.
Chrysler customers who buy a Dodge Ram or Durango or Dakota in March will get one of the HEMI engines during March “Truck Month” at no extra charge. In addition, they will receive up to $5,000 in consumer cash on the Ram and $2,000 on the Durango. Dodge Dakota customers also are eligible for $2,000 in cash.
The company also is offering $1,000 in bonus cash on the Jeep Liberty, Commander Limited and the Grand Cherokee.
Analyst Rebecca Lindland of Global Insight said Chrysler is relying on deals like this to ease its inventory problems.
"They'll deny it until the end, but they've been putting on the incentives pretty heavily," she said.
General Motors Corp. did not announce any new promotions for March, but the automaker did raise its own sales incentives in February.
"We're going to stay competitive in March and we'll see how the industry plays out," GM’s chief sales analyst Paul Ballew said.
Though each of the Detroit-based automakers has vowed to cut back on incentive spending, analysts say they are here to stay for the foreseeable future
"The domestics can't eliminate them all together," said Alex Rosten of Edmunds.com. Even Toyota Motor Corp. has been putting incentives on some of its models, including its brand new 2007 Tacoma pickup: 3.9 percent for 36 months, 4.9 percent for 48 months, and 5.9 percent for 60 months.