DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is selling its subprime lending unit, Triad Financial Corp., to a group of investors.
Ford decided to sell the unit last fall and struck a preliminary deal in December. The pending sale was disclosed in the automaker's 10-K filing on March 10.
The buyers are Gerald J. Ford of Dallas, who is not related to the automaker's founding family; investment group GTCR Golder Rauner LLC of Chicago; and Goldman Sachs of New York, said Ford Credit spokeswoman Brenda Hines.
Ford expects the sale to be complete by June 30, subject to financing and regulatory approvals. The company would not disclose the purchase price or other details.
Ford says Triad of Huntington Beach, Calif., no longer is a core piece of its lending business.
"The reason it is for sale is that Triad specialized in nonprime lending for late-model used-automobile purchases, and a large portion of its volume is generated by non-Ford dealers," Hines said. "Our present focus is to support Ford Motor Co. brands."
Ford retreated from non-Ford and used-car lending when its turnaround plan began in 2002. Ford also began reducing riskier subprime business around that time, after high credit losses early this decade.
The Triad sale doesn't mark a shift in strategy regarding the subprime business, Hines said.
"We do buy a broad spectrum of business" in the core Ford Credit portfolio, she said.
Ford Credit CEO Michael Bannister said in October that the company was adding staff and technology to its risk-management department to increase loans carefully to higher-risk customers. Some dealers have complained that Ford Credit has pulled back too far from higher-risk loans.
Ford wouldn't disclose revenue or profits for Triad. The unit holds about $4 billion in assets, and Hines said it has been profitable.
Ford said in the 10-K report that it expects to sell Triad for an amount approximately equal to its book value.
Ford bought Triad in 1999. It has about 1,200 employees.
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