• Apr 7th 2006 at 3:02PM
  • 12

Ford Motor Company announced Thursday that it is rolling out a zero-percent financing incentive program for its Escape and Mariner Hybrids.

The plan offers zero-percent financing for 60 months, or a $500 down payment-matching cash incentive. Ford launched the program in California and Washington, D.C. last month, and apparently the results have been promising enough that the company is taking the program nationwide.

The Escape is selling slowly in both gasoline-powered and hybrid versions, and big rebates for the gas-powered version have placed Ford's green version at a serious price disadvantage (the hybrid is up to $6,000 pricier). As Ford also offers zero-percent/60 month financing on the standard Escape, Ford feels it needs the spiffs to improve the hybrid's value.

Sounds like Kermit, Ford's Escape Hybrid spokesfrog, has his work cut out for him.

[Source: Automotive News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      This just shows that the hybrid market is limited to a few earthy-crunchy types who need a Prius as a status symbol. There isn't yet a broader market for high tech, fuel efficient cars. In the mean time, auto makers are wasting billions to try to make the next status symbol. Are hybrids Toyota's secret way of bankrupting the other car makers by having them chase a dream so they don't have enough money to compete with normal cars?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Apparently, the majority of today's vehicle buyers still believe in the wisdom of the old adage, "Be neither the first to buy or the last to try."!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Probably more to do with how long the Escape has been around. "doug", I don't think this has to do with status symbols -- the Prius and new Civic hybrid are still different and fresh, so they well. Unfortunately the Escape has not really changed in something like five years.

      Ford would have a better sales if they put the hybrid drivetrain in the Fusion or a next-generation Focus, or maybe the new CUV (whatever it's called).
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, "doug", you're probably right that the Prius being a "statement" car has something to do with its sales. Every car makes a statement, whether it's an a Tahoe or a Prius. It'll be interesting to see how the new Camry hybrid does -- the price is somewhere in the mid-20s.

      I don't see anything wrong with being socially conscious, even if it costs you some extra money. Former-CIA director James Woolsey drives around in a Prius with a bumper sticker that says "Bin Laden Hates This Car". So if you're concerned with either national security or the environment, there are good reasons to buy something like a Prius.

      • 9 Years Ago
      I agree that the Escape being old is part of it. But in the hybrid market, only the Prius is doing well. Last month, the Accord hybrid was down over 50% vs 2005, and the Civic was down 23%. These hybrid designs based on regular models don't have the hybrid bling of the Prius because an onlooker has to look real hard to see that their owners are "special," while anyone can see a Prius owner is. The Prius is nothing more than a designer accessory for the socially (over)conscious. That's why it sells so much better than the other hybrids. In the meantime, the other automakers waste billions on money losing hybrids instead of making a Camry-beater.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #12: sounds like the Kool-Aid peddled by the WSJ editorial board. I don't think even they really believe it.

      #13: On the contrary. Ford was part of an industry-gov't effort known as the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. It started in 1994, had a goal of a 4-seat production car getting 80 mpg for sale by 2004. Ford and GM had to be dragged kicking and screaming (Chrysler was the least reluctant), yet by 1999 all had prototypes getting in excess of 70 mpg -- all were diesel electric hybrids. The price premium was high (~$7K) but that was only halfway into the program. PNGV was one of the first things killed by this administration, and none of the Big 3 followed it up. This was, after all, when gas was cheap and SUVs at their most popular, but when the writing was clearly on the wall. This was lack of vision, lack of courage, and lack of will power at the management level. In the event, had they followed through and sold production PNGV cars in 2004, they wouldn't be able to build enough of them. And Toyota -- who wanted to join but was turned away -- would be playing catch up.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Just like the Hondas in the U.S. in the late 70's, the Prius technology was subsidsidized by the Technoologies and Auto division of the Japanese government. The return on investment for a promising R&D effort was assisted by a progressive, socialized government with a big hand in industry.
      Ford had to pay it's own R&D, like all U.S. companies. They have to take a loss on their cars to get people into them to build the market. I saw this coming when they first released the Escape Hybrid with a bloated cost of manufacturing, $6k higher than the gas version.
      Now that's a good company, that takes it on the chin and goes after market share without any sapping of the tax dollars bucks, like in Japan.
      But it would have been nice of your politicians to have seen this coming and thrown assistance into the alternative fuel automobile production and delivery.
      Oh wait, we have a Texan oilman in Office, with a Texan oilman V.P., and ... well you know the story about Iraq and where the money is going.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Mmmm. Mercury Mariner. Mmmm....
      • 9 Years Ago
      I know an extensive amount of people who are interested in hybrids. The problem is the US automakers are still unwilling to price them to where the middle class is able to afford.

      The comment of hybrids being a status symbol is a statement that is unfounded. At least there is an attempt to move this country away from its dependency on foreign oil. At least Toyota has forced the issue with the US automakers, to produce automobiles which can start in a small way to improve the future of this country.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Maybe "Consumer Reports" had an influence in advising buyers that hybrids don't save money--they cost more to own.

      With a hybrid, you're buying perhaps 75,000 miles of gasoline in advance. And if you keep the vehicle long enough, resale will be adversely affected by the expected purchase by the next owner of new batteries and other repairs that are as yet unknown.

      Hybrids are for helping Greenies feel good about themselves and little more.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Nobody is going to buy an ugly, poorly built car...even if it has a hybrid label on it. Ford and GM need to learn that marketing and rebates can only go so far to sell their garbage. If they want to sell vehicles at or above sticker, they need to improve quality and make the styling appeal.
      Toyota's Prius looks great for an econobox, and their new FJ Cruiser is hot looking and will sell well even if it is a gas guzzler.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, if all of us really want to use less Arab oil and perhaps not fund terrorists, we should all buy the largest Hummer and guzzle enough gasoline to raise its price to where it would be economical to extract oil from coal or from some other source that's closer to home.

      We burn Arab oil because it's the cheapest oil we can buy.
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