Ford Motor Co. and General Motors introduced separate incentive programs today that promised to protect customers against job loss.

Ford’s program, called Ford Advantage, offers customers payment protection for up to $700 and 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle. Customers can also receive zero-percent financing on select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles through Ford’s financing partner, Ford Motor Credit.

“Consumers remain anxious about the economy and their own outlook for the future. We at Ford want to do our part to rebuild faith in the marketplace by offering payment protection on every new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle for up to a year if our customers lose their jobs,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of sales and marketing.

GM’s Total Confidence program offers payment protection for the first 24 months of ownership. The program provides customers with up to nine months of payments on new vehicle loans or leases – up to $500 a month – if they lose their jobs for economic reasons.

GM also promises to protect the value of the new vehicles. Halfway through their finance contracts, customers can qualify for vehicle value protection when financing the next GM vehicle.

The incentive package also includes GM’s five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, as well as one-year of OnStar service. GM’s program is available for vehicles purchased through April 30, 2009.

"By protecting a customer's payment, investment, vehicle and family, we are reinventing the customer experience," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America vehicle sales, service and marketing. "The 'GM Total Confidence' plan addresses today's most pressing concerns for new car buyers.”

The programs offered by both domestic manufacturers are similar to an incentive package Hyundai introduced in January called Hyundai Assurance. The program covers customers for the first 12 months on new vehicle loans or leases and includes up to 90-days of payments.