Fall is hunting season, and in the rural South, it’s apparently also a slow time of year to sell cars and trucks. And so, with one eye on past precedent and another squarely trained on its core customer demographic, a Ford dealer in Honea Path, South Carolina, has turned to a new promotion it calls “God, Guns and America!” The deal? Buy a new or used car and get a Bible, a shotgun and an American flag in return.
Carolina Ford says it launched the promotion Oct. 1 and plans to run it through November as a way to gin up sales.
“October is a weird month in the car business,” general manager Derrick Hughes told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s like the calm-before-the-storm type month. You’ve got to have something going. October is the slowest and November is the second slowest.”
The dealership, located about 20 miles south of Greenville, has said it’s not trying to make a political statement but is simply appealing to local residents’ religious leanings, patriotism and love of hunting. Upon purchase, customers are given a voucher and background check paperwork to take to a local sporting goods store. If they fail the background check or want to buy something other than a gun, the voucher can be used to buy other items.
If the giveaway sounds familiar, that’s because it’s happened before. This past summer, a Ford dealer in Alabama kicked off a Fourth of July-themed “God, Guns, and Freedom” promotion in which it, too, gave away a Bible, American flag and certificate redeemable for a shotgun to customers who bought a vehicle. The dealership in that case said Ford asked it to stop running its Facebook video advertising the deal after a shooting at a Ford dealership near San Jose, California, left three people dead. But Ford made no public comment about that promotion, and it told the Freep that its dealers are independent businesses and that the current promotion in South Carolina is not being driven by the company.
On Carolina Ford’s Facebook page, commenters seemed split between wholehearted support — “You guys got some guts, and I love it. God Bless you and the USA!” one commenter wrote — and disdain. One woman scolded the decision, adding, “Welcome to the origin of our next mass shooting.” It's the inescapable culture war, playing out on its Facebook page.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Carolina Ford did not respond to a request for comment from Autoblog, but the dealer confirmed the promotion was still valid.