Ford Motor Co. will launch a new round of sales incentives beginning Aug. 24 to run through Labor Day to help clear out remaining ’06 inventory, several dealers tell Ward’s.

A Ford spokesman confirms the new sales plan.

The auto maker, which has suffered flagging sales and was outsold in the U.S. by Toyota Motor Co. in July, will offer 0% financing on nearly all ’06 models, even the hot-selling Fusion midsize sedan.

The only vehicles not covered by the new incentive scheme are F-Series Super Duty 650 pickups and heavier versions, the dealers say.

The incentive plan was outlined to dealers during a conference call with Al Giombetti, president-Ford and Lincoln Mercury sales and marketing, and Cisco Codina, group vice president-North American marketing, sales and service.

As part of the program, Ford is relaxing credit requirements needed to qualify for the 0% financing, which should help drive business and ease transactions.

“It’s a tremendous savings,” one dealer says. “Especially for those that had a tier 3 or 4 (credit rating), where normally there was an uptick on their rate that caused payment increases. This eliminates that.”

While it is not unusual for auto makers to offer year-end incentives to clear out stock, Ford’s program is different.

“I haven’t ever seen anything like this across the board and this simple,” a Ford dealer says. “That’s what I like about it. Customers and my staff will like it because it’s a simple, good program.”

Marketing for the new program will be conducted at thedealer level and through the Ford Dealer Advertising Fund.

However, some dealers, while welcoming the program, say they don’t really need it.

“I think it is a great promotion. However, we are almost sold out of ’06 models,” a dealer tells Ward’s. “We only have a few trucks and SUVs left, less than 10 units. We sold out of cars earlier this month.”

Another dealer declines to comment on the program, saying it has yet to be made public. However, he does offer up some advice.

“The feeling here is the bottom has been reached, and there are some real positive changes starting to gain momentum,” he says. “We have the best management team ever in place right now. You just might want to start buying Ford stock.”

The Ford spokesman says the auto maker will announce the new sales incentive program Thursday.

bpope@wardsauto.com