DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., responding to a costly consumer incentive program at rival General Motors, said on Tuesday it was extending its offer of interest-free loans for up to five years across much of its vehicle lineup.
Like GM, which extended its incentives program for another month last Thursday, the world's second-largest automaker said it was offering rebates of $3,000 as an alternative to interest-free loans on many models. The new incentive program runs through June 4.
Ford, which marks its centennial next month, is also offering $5-a-day leases on entry-level Ford Mustang and Ford Ranger models. The lease plan hearkens back to automotive pioneer Henry Ford's decision in 1914 to pay workers $5 a day, double the going rate.
Additionally, as part of its new program, Ford said it would match customer downpayments of up to $1,000 on Windstar minivans and is offering active and retired U.S, military personnel a special $750 "military appreciation" discount on most Ford vehicles.
Zero percent financing was introduced by GM to boost sales and consumer sentiment after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. All three Detroit automakers have relied on 0 percent deals and other incentives heavily since then, even as they acknowledge that the deals hurt profits and are becoming increasingly less effective in offsetting a shaky U.S. economy.