Ford: 0% financing for less than perfect credit
Beleaguered car maker expands financing program with longer times and looser standards.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Hurt by falling U.S. sales, Ford Motor Company said Wednesday it is offering a zero percent financing program that will be available to people who have less-than-perfect credit.
The program, which offers payment periods up to 72-months, starts Thursday and will run until Sept. 5, said Ford spokesman Jim Cain.
While these types of zero percent financing programs are not new, Cain said they had previously only been typically available to people with stellar credit.
"It's going to be very accessible," said Cain. "We think it's a good way to sell down 2006 inventory."
The program will cover most 2006 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.
Ford shares rallied Wednesday on reports that Bill Ford had called Renault chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn to explore possible cooperation.
The weak demand for its product has prompted Ford to announce a 21 percent reduction in North American production in the fourth quarter, primarily in its light truck models, as 10 plants will stay shuttered for extended periods of time.
It's the biggest cut in production at the automaker since 1982.
In July, for the first time in its history, it fell to No. 3 in U.S. sales behind Toyota Motor Corp., capturing only 15 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales. For the year it has seen sales fall 9.8 percent to 1.7 million vehicles.
While sales of its car models are up 5.7 percent for the year, light trucks, such as SUVs, pickups and minivans, which make up are off 17.1 percent.