In an effort to boost sales of its new Fiesta small car, Ford Motor Credit Company has developed a dedicated plan to help F&I managers who might otherwise find it difficult to arrange financing for the younger and less credit-worthy buyers in the vehicle’s target market.
At a recent press conference, Ford Fiesta brand manager, Sam de la Garza, said Ford Credit may choose to re-evaluate credit application from would-be buyers that were initially rejected and may make an extra effort to see that they are approved for financing.
According to de la Garza, “Ford Credit will be doing some extra training. They will re-review everything,”
Ford has a lot riding on the success of the Fiesta. The automaker plans to introduce half a dozen such fuel-efficient models, originally designed for European markets, in the U.S. The Fiesta was originally sold in the U.S. but sales were discontinued in 1980. The new Fiesta went on sale in Europe in 2008 and was the second best-selling vehicle in Europe in 2009 according to Jato Dynamics.
The Fiesta began arriving in dealer showrooms last month, marking Ford’s first launch of a subcompact model in the U.S. since 1997.
Early last year, Ford began a social media blitz, using such sites as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to heighten awareness among “millennials”, born between 1979 and 1995. Ford says its “Fiesta Movement” social media campaign has generated upwards of 2.8 million Twitter impressions. Ford has also used traditional media to spread the word about the new Fiesta and aired Fiesta commercials during last season’s highly rated American Idol competition.
After all the effort it has made to attract younger buyers, the last thing Ford wants is to have to deny them based on their thin credit histories. Ford Credit spokeswoman, Margaret Mellott, said the automaker has developed a dedicated team of agents “to ensure every offering receives our best call.”
She said Ford Credit may offer marginal buyers the option of a higher down payment or adding a co-signer to their application in order to qualify for credit.
In a recent communiqué to dealers, Ford Credit also reminded them to promote the Ford College Student Purchase Program. The program provides full- and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and trade school studies, as well as recent graduates, a $500 bonus in addition to any advertised incentive on any eligible Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle.
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