NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co. says it may offer discounts on its redesigned F-150 pickup when it launches the important truck this summer, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The company might have dealer incentives, a leasing program or some APR, the Journal quoted Steve Lyons, head of the automaker's U.S. Ford Division, as saying.
"Even if you have to spend $1,000 a unit on the new one, you're still $2,000 ahead of where you are," Lyons told the newspaper. "So your margins still improve pretty well." Ford is offering rebates of as much as $3,000 on the current F-150.
Traditionally, automakers have refrained from offering incentives to new vehicles at the time of their introduction in an effort to maximize profits from early demand. But heavy incentives have persisted in the industry for the past year and the full-sized pickup market is getting increasingly competitive, with Japanese automakers encroaching on turf that was once the exclusive domain of U.S. brands.
Lyons says he does not intend to let F-series sales shrink, according to the report. Ford has redesigned the F-150 from the wheels up, offering five interior looks, from work truck to luxury cruiser. Lyons told the newspaper he wants to expand sales of the F-series lineup including the new model, part of Ford's efforts to rebuild profits, to more than a million vehicles annually, up from 813,700 vehicles last year.
Ford reported a net loss for the fourth quarter in January as losses in its automotive business overwhelmed a profit from its financing arm. At the time, the company raised its first-quarter North American production by 25,000 vehicles, saying in the charts it wanted to ensure an adequate supply of F-150 pickups when it updates its plants for the new model this year.
Ford was not immediately available for comment early Tuesday morning.