Ford Motor Co. has agreed to pay $40,000 in legal and investigative costs to settle allegations that its Blue Oval certification and incentive program violated the Texas franchise law.
A similar settlement is in progress for the Mercury Division's Mercury Advantage program, but the state's case against the Lincoln Division's ongoing Premier program still is pending, says Carol Kent, enforcement director for the Texas Motor Vehicle Division.
Two years ago, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles filed a complaint against Ford before the Texas Motor Vehicle Board alleging that the Blue Oval program unfairly discriminates among dealers and requires dealers to meet unreasonable operating standards.
Under the program, dealers who met operating standards and achieved minimum customer satisfaction scores received an additional 1.25 percent of the base sticker price for new vehicles.
Without admitting wrongdoing, Ford agreed to end the rewards by March 31, 2005, the date it already had planned to phase out the incentives.
"This case settled after Ford announced plans to transition to a recognition-based program and discontinue cash bonus payments in March 2005," Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel says.