Ford Credit goes extra mile in bid to lure young Fiesta buyers

Jim Henry
Automotive News | July 7, 2010 – 12:01 am EST
NEW YORK — Ford Motor Credit Co.’s dedicated plan to support U.S. sales of the Ford Fiesta is good news for F&I managers who otherwise may find it tough to get the car’s young target buyers approved for loans.

For example, Ford Credit in some cases will review credit applications of would-be Fiesta buyers who were turned down and put some extra effort into getting them approved, Sam de la Garza, Ford Fiesta brand manager, said here at a recent press introduction for the car.

“Ford Credit will be doing some extra training; they will re-review everything,” de la Garza said.

The Fiesta is an important part of Ford’s strategy to introduce in the United States half a dozen fuel-efficient small cars that were designed in Europe. The Fiesta went on sale in Europe in fall 2008, and the first units reached U.S. dealers last month.

Since early 2009 Ford has been drumming up interest in the Fiesta on social media Web sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The Fiesta Movement campaign has generated more than 2.8 million impressions on Twitter alone, the company said.

Ford Credit could undo a lot of that effort if it turns away too many of the Fiesta’s young target buyers, who may not have much of a credit history.

For the Fiesta launch, Ford Credit is employing a dedicated team “to ensure every offering receives our best call,” Ford Credit spokeswoman Margaret Mellott said.

That could mean giving credit applications a personal review that may include options such as a co-signer or a higher down payment, she said.

Coinciding with the Fiesta launch, Ford Credit also reminded dealers in recent communications of its Ford College Student Purchase Program, a $500 bonus on top of other advertised incentives. The bonus applies to all eligible Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, not just the Fiesta. Full-time and part-time undergraduates, graduate students, trade school students and recent graduates qualify.


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