Bill Ford seconded the call by Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, for the auto industry to "stop whining" about incentives.
"I think what's good for the customer is good for Ford," CEO Bill Ford said Saturday after his keynote speech.
"I think Rick was right when he said stop whining."
Though incentives may start to come down a little, Bill Ford said relatively high incentives are here to stay, at least until the economy improves enough to bring demand closer to existing production capacity.
Incentives have helped push the cost of buying a car down to the industry's lowest levels - 19.9 weeks of median family income - since 1978.
Consumers are using the incentives to buy more expensive vehicles, Jim O'Connor, Ford group vice president of North America marketing, sales and service, said at a press conference. It has made for a richer mix of sales for the automaker.
Bill Ford said the company is planning a second gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. Ford's first hybrid, a version of its Escape SUV, will be introduced this year.
"It's probably a sedan," he said. He declined to discuss timing.
In his address to dealers, Ford admitted to the shortcomings of the Ford Retail Network, in which the company owned dealerships: "In the '90s, some of us manufacturers thought we could do a better job selling vehicles ourselves. We found out that we work better when we cooperate rather than when we compete."
He said that getting back to basics is the watchword at the automaker, and that a "strong independent dealer organization is right at the top of that list.''
"We need to give our dealers what they need and get out of their way and let them do it," Ford said.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Ford Motor will conduct a 100-city tour between April and June. The company is soliciting ideas from dealers as to how to make each city's celebration unique.