DETROIT, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. Thursday announced a buyer-incentive program that defers payments on a new vehicle until next year to reduce its estimated 400,000 inventory of remaining 2002 models.
Through Sept. 30, customers can purchase any 2002 Ford model car, pickup or sport-utility vehicle at zero-percent interest and not make a payment until January. Ford currently offers no-interest financing for up to 60 months, or $3,500 cash rebates, on most 2002 vehicles.
The "free-ride" program can be combined with cut-rate financing or rebates to offer "the ultimate in payment flexibility," said Steve Lyons, Ford Division president.
"Customers who were waiting to buy vehicles next year can take advantage of the great financing and cash rebates now with no payments until 2003."
National advertising for the incentives began Thursday with print ads in 30 top newspapers. Television spots were scheduled to begin airing Saturday.
Ford's zero-percent deals on 2003 models are set to expire Sept. 30 but may be extended.
General Motors, which kicked off the incentives war with zero percent financing after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and German-American carmaker DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group said it had no plans to offer deferred payments on 2002 models.
Both GM and Chrysler offer no-interest financing on 36-month loans for 2003 models. GM's zero-percent financing deals end Sept. 30 but the zero-percent deals run through Oct. 31 on some Chrysler models, excluding Jeep Liberty, Viper and heavy-duty Ram pickups.
Ford has lined up an impressive list of recording artists to inject some life into its Mercury brand. Aretha Franklin, Macy Gray and Dwight Yoakam will sing in Mercury's television ad campaign, "Crazy About a Mercury."