Ford Motor Co. is offering $500 dealer cash on its base Edge SE cross/utility vehicle in an attempt to even out the sales mix, as early buyers are opting for the higher-trimmed versions, according to media reports.

The move is not unusual, as during most new vehicle launches highly equipped models tend to be more popular with buyers.

Currently, the up-level Edge SEL and SEL Plus models reportedly account for some 80% of sales.

A Ford spokeswoman declines to comment on the incentives, but confirms there is a stronger demand for well-equipped Edge models.

“What we have is a strong buzz around the Edge,” she tells Ward’s. “What we’re saying is that when people decide they want an Edge, they want it all, so we’re seeing a higher demand for higher series, especially (units) with 18-in. wheels.

“We’re working to address a minor stocking imbalance,” she says.

January, the first full month of sales, Ford dealers moved 5,586 units, according to Ward’s data.

bpope@wardsauto.com