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Fear of job loss, uncertainty stalls car buyers — so Ford came up with an idea

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Karl Brauer went to work in mid-June doing a job he loved, and he ended the day with news it had come to an end.

"I was let go the day after my seventh anniversary," said Brauer, 50, a longtime industry authority as executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. "I've got a wife and we're a single-income family with two kids, 21 and 19, with one on the autism spectrum and both in college."

He had no warning he was going to lose his job. A few weeks before, he had been out new car shopping, but held off.

"There are plenty of people out there who just have no idea what is going to happen," Brauer said. "They may feel completely confident in their job, but they've got friends or relatives who felt confident in their job two weeks ago and now they're unemployed. It's not really a question of responsibility as much a question of the unknown, of variability."

It's stories like Brauer's that have a lot of consumers hesitant to make major purchases, like buying a car, right now.

So Ford Motor Company is launching a special program to offset this consumer anxiety.

 

The company is allowing customers who buy new or used cars through Ford Credit to return that vehicle within a year if payments can't be made because of job loss. The special "Ford Promise" program announced publicly Monday runs through September 30.

It applies specifically to 2019, 2020 and 2021 purchased or leased new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles. Commercial use contracts do not qualify.

'Not comfortable'

This latest initiative is a response to economic fear seen by car dealers.

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