Ford's dealer development program works to help people become dealer principles who might not otherwise have the chance. The 64 members of the program, most of them black or Hispanic, are set up with stores by Ford and then buy out Ford's interest in the dealership with revenues. To give them a boost and, presumably, free up Ford money, Automotive News is reporting that Ford is offering dealers in the program an offer they'll have a hard time refusing: complete ownership of their stores for $1.

To take advantage, though, the dealers will need to have private financing for their operating capital in place by September 30. If they can prove to Ford that they have enough private resources, they will take complete control of their stores and Ford will forgive any money the dealer still owes to The Blue Oval. Even though Ford would technically lose money on any dealer who accepted the offer, the automaker would no longer need to be involved in the dealership or in its floorplan financing.

With the state of car sales, there are likely to be dealers who can't take advantage of the program. For those who haven't been able to pay Ford back at all, the decision will be taken on a case-by-case basis about what to do with their stores. For those dealers in good standing who simply can't get outside financing, the arrangement will continue as is.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]