Ford’s “Friends and Neighbors” holiday promotion was ended last month, after failing to resonate with consumers and drum up enough sales. The promotion, which was supposed to terminate in early January, promised pricing akin to what the families and friends of Ford Motor Company employees might pay.
Ford has replaced the “Friends and Neighbors” promotion with a more traditional one, granting 0 percent financing and $1,000 cash-back on many Ford models, according to Automotive News. “We don’t see any weakness in the product other than we just didn’t have a low-interest-rate financing that those customers were looking for, which we will have in December,” said Ford VP of US Marketing, Sales, and Service Mark LaNeve. “Even if you’re getting to the same payment by other means, just the availability of low-interest financing [is] a major component of the way customers are shopping now.”
Analysts agree that where “Friends and Neighbors” promised a somewhat confusing deal of pricing within $200 of the dealer invoice, 0 percent vehicle loan financing is a clear, easy-to-understand offer. “November is a time when every retailer is trying to fight for consumer dollars,” said Edmunds Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “People don’t necessarily have time in November to research what ‘Friends and Neighbors’ means. When the deal-seekers are out, it’s best to simplify your message.”
In many cases, the “Friends and Neighbor” pricing was roughly the same as what the vehicles had already been selling for before the start of the promotion.
Ford’s fumbled attempt at a holiday promotion took its toll on November sales, reports Automotive News, with brand sales up just 0.4 percent. Much of that was thanks to an uptick in truck and van sales (up 18 percent), versus declines in both SUV/crossover sales (down 9.7 percent) and car sales (down 13 percent).
Many dealers are reportedly pleased with Ford’s readiness to abandon the “Friends and Neighbors” promotion and run with something better.