Ford offers modest loan deal for new F-150


DETROIT, July 24 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. on Thursday announced a modest loan incentive for its new F-150 pickup truck as it attempts to improve profits with a redesigned model.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain said the 2004 F-150 would carry a loan deal of 2.9 percent interest for a three-year deal, 3.9 percent for a four-year deal and 4.9 percent for five years. The current version has zero-percent loan offers for up to five years, $3,500 cash rebates and various "loyalty" deals.

Cain said Ford had included the incentive in estimates released earlier this month suggesting that a typical owner of a three-year-old F-150 could trade up to a new one for about $20 a month more.

Ford executives had said then that a combination of lower incentives and a larger mix of high-end versions will raise the average profit per F-150 sold. Ford's overall truck incentives averaged $3,562 in June, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp.

Ford executives have faced a delicate balance in pricing the F-150, which is Ford's best-selling vehicle and the linchpin of its turnaround plan. The new F-150 is more powerful and more sophisticated than its predecessor, but costs Ford an extra $1,000 to $2,000 per vehicle in parts and assembly costs over the previous model.

To fight Detroit's price wars, Ford will continue to sell the old F-150 for the next year as a price leader. That will allow Ford to sell more high-end versions of the new F-150, whose sticker prices can reach $35,570 before options.

The new truck will begin to reach dealerships in a few weeks.



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