Year-end new car sales will soon be underway. Ford may have found a better idea as its discounting starts early and goes deep.
The Ford brand is about to launch a major sale, one that begins on Nov. 2 and extends through Jan. 4, 2016, the last date counted for 2015 calendar year sales. Holding sales is nothing new, especially at this time of the year. What is unusual is that Ford will be setting prices at levels not seen since the last recession.
Friends & Neighbors Pricing Event
Automotive News acquired a copy of a 20-page guide Ford recently distributed to its dealers. The guide, marked confidential, details a “Friends & Neighbors Pricing Event,” which will allow dealers to sell cars at prices within $200 of dealer invoice. The no-haggle pricing initiative should deliver extra savings to customers, especially for people who typically aren’t especially thorough with their research. Further, the discounting can be combined with other incentives — customers should be able to save at least 10 percent off the sticker price of any new vehicle.
Ford’s year-end sale comes as the automaker battles to retain market share. Over the past year, Ford has gradually recovered sales lost as the company transitioned from a steel-bodied F-150 pickup truck to an aluminum-bodied one. The brand has also suffered losses in key segments as competition heats up. For example, sales for the Fusion midsize sedan and the compact Focus are down this year.
Through September, Ford sales are up 4.5 percent (4.6 percent with Lincoln) year to date or slightly below the 5 percent rise for the entire market. Among the largest manufacturers, Fiat Chrysler and Nissan are performing above the market’s pace, while GM, Toyota and Honda follow Ford in coming in below the market average.
How Will Competitors Respond?
The good news for consumers is that additional savings can be had when shopping for a Ford vehicle. Even better will be the responses other manufacturers are certain to provide, by offering incentives of their own. Consumers may find that they have additional leverage, especially if competitors are forced to match Ford’s discounting to close a sale.
One Ford incentive that will go away are interest-free new car loans. Although such loans have been used by dealers to entice customers, they won’t be offered for the duration of the pricing event. This means consumers should carefully shop for a loan with their bank or credit union and have that financing arranged before negotiating the price of a new car.
Know the Value of Your Used Car
Shoppers may also find that their trade-ins may not fetch the amount they want — visiting sites such as NADAGuides.com, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book will tell you what your car is worth along with both the private party and dealer values. Nevertheless, you can often get more for your used car by selling it separately or at least keeping it separate from your new car deal.
Ford shoppers may also find that used vehicles, including those labeled certified pre-owned (CPO) may offer improved discounts too, especially if those vehicles languish on dealer lots and as new car inventories shrink. Typically, CPO incentives are set by the manufacturer and involve a discount, low-rate financing, sometimes both. Regardless of the incentives offered, consumers should negotiate the best deal possible.
Record Ford Motor Company Profits
As with any major sale, manufacturers risk putting to the side profits at the expense of increasing market share. However, the Ford Motor Company reported a record third-quarter pre-tax profit as its income rose by 129 percent, just the sort of good news it needs as it rolls out one of its biggest sales events in seven years.
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