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N.C. stalls anti-Blue Oval bill

After some last-minute politicking, a North Carolina bill that would have outlawed the incentive tied to Ford Motor Co.’s Blue Oval program was sent to a conference committee last week to settle a dispute concerning when the legislation should take effect.

“We were completely blindsided,” said Bob Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. He expected the bill to go to the governor for signing and did not expect the Senate to object to the House version of the bill.

The bill bans incentives tied to customer satisfaction and other operating standards.

The prohibition is expected to remain intact, but its effect likely will be postponed to accommodate Ford Motor Co., which believes the bill is unfair, according to a lobbyist who requested anonymity.

Under the legislation passed by the House, the incentive ban would have taken effect March 1, 2003, for Ford but would not apply to several other manufacturers with similar incentive programs until Dec. 31, 2007.

“All we asked is that the North Carolina legislature be fair, and we’re hopeful that the conference committee will revise the bill to let Blue Oval Certified proceed like our dealers requested,” said Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel. “We’ve had numerous Ford dealers testify in front of the North Carolina legislature in support of Blue Oval and for equal treatment given to other manufacturers’ similar programs.”

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