Ford Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Jack R. Nerad | May 11, 2020

Ford Motor Company’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis and the ensuing economic upheaval was among the first and the most aggressive among automakers that created coronavirus payment plans and programs to assist existing customers and entice new ones.

Ford Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

With hundreds of millions of American workers suddenly idled by business and plant closures, health-related lockdowns, and travel restrictions, the auto manufacturers battled strong headwinds in late March and for most of April. Now, signs of economic life and cautious optimism offer hope that the worst is over, even if the automotive retail, service, and repair landscape is altered for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, to help current customers who are suddenly experiencing bad times and to persuade other consumers that now is a good time to buy a vehicle, Ford has instituted a number of initiatives designed to answer consumer needs.

Ford Customer Relief Programs - Find the best deals!

Ford is aware that some of its current customers might encounter unexpected difficulties in making their monthly loan or lease payments. To help, the automaker is encouraging existing Ford Credit customers in the U.S. affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to get in touch and discuss their options. 

Eligibility for changes or payment schedules is limited to people who purchased or leased vehicles through Ford Credit, which will consider changes on a case by case basis. Ford Credit has established a special hotline for this purpose —1-800-723-4016. Alternatively, customers can reach their account manager at accountmanager.ford.com or through the FordPass app. 

"We want to make sure that anyone who needs assistance knows it's available," said Marion Harris, chief executive officer, Ford Motor Credit Company.

Those Ford customers who financed or leased their vehicles with another financial institution are urged to contact that institution directly. Many are offering similar payment relief.

 
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Ford New Car Incentives - Find the best deals!

Ford dealers told Ford Motor Company the most urgent need to steady sales is payment support for potential new customers whose economic fortunes have suddenly become cloudy in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. 

In response to that sentiment, Ford Motor Company created the "Built to Lend a Hand" program that offers customers six months of leeway before they have to make their initial payments. Under the terms of the new program, Ford will pay for the equivalent of three months of car payments and customers can defer their first payment for up to three months for a total of six months. Ford is also offering 0% APR financing for as long as 72 months, 3.9% APR financing for up to 84 months, and has added medical professionals to its first-responder discount program, which offers a $500 cash rebate. 

The components of the “Built to Lend a Hand” program are available to eligible new car buyers purchasing new 2019 and 2020 model year vehicles, excluding certain models. To qualify, the vehicles must be financed through Ford Credit by June 1, 2020, though Ford may extend the program into the summer.

As a further incentive, Ford Motor Company is offering financial assistance to help Ford dealers perform pickup of trade-ins and delivery of new vehicles at a customer’s home or office. According to a Ford spokesperson, service work is still being performed at most dealers, and showroom sales traffic at dealerships varies by state. Dealers are disinfecting new cars and cars returned from service to owners in accordance with Centers for Disease Control-approved techniques. 

Ford Factory Closures - Find the best deals!

In late March, a senior Ford Motor Company spokesperson told J.D. Power that the automaker had suspended or was in the process of suspending operations at virtually all Ford plants worldwide. An exception was China, where factories and other facilities were temporarily shuttered, but are now reopening as the country begins to move beyond the crisis, he said.

The suspension of manufacturing operations idled about 55,000 North American workers. Thousands of other workers in continental Europe, Great Britain, and South America are also temporarily out of work due to the crisis. Most recently, Ford announced the suspension of manufacturing operations in India, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam.

"The primary motivations, like for other actions we've taken across the company in the past several weeks, are simple: protecting the safety and well-being of our people and helping to limit the spread of the coronavirus in communities where we operate," T.R. Reid, Ford's director, corporate and public policy communications, told us.

Ford's U.S., Canadian and Mexican manufacturing facilities were tentatively scheduled to resume production on March 30 after a thorough cleaning and sanitization effort. That plan was scuttled, however, and operations did not start to resume for more than a month, with U.S. factories re-starting production on May 18.

Ford Economic Outlook & Sales Forecast - Find the best deals!

The combination of fear of disease, economic uncertainty, plant closures, and curtailment of some retail operations are affecting Ford's sales and financial results for calendar year 2020. Total revenue for the first quarter of 2020 slid 14.9%, according to the company, and the automaker expects an adjusted pre-tax loss of $5 billion during the second quarter. 

Ford has withdrawn all previously released guidance for 2020. Since the situation is fluid, Ford spokespeople were unable and unwilling to discuss the auto industry's overall outlook or that of Ford Motor Company. "For competitive and other reasons, we have not provided specific commentary about the effects of the coronavirus on global or national economies, nor on Ford's business," a Ford spokesperson said.

Auto industry sales were up sharply in February, before the coronavirus epidemic escalated into a pandemic that sent stock markets tumbling around the world. J.D. Power forecast U.S. sales of 16.9 million early in the year but has since adjusted that expectation to 12.6 to 14.5 million, depending on how the crisis plays out.

The information in this article is from Ford Motor Company and was accurate as of May 9, 2020. Plans and programs may have changed since that date. Be sure to confirm with your Ford dealer that offers discussed in this article remain valid.

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