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Ford to end its Friends and Neighbors ad campaign early

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. is ending its “Friends and Neighbors” incentive program a month early after it failed to resonate with customers.

Starting Tuesday, the Dearborn automaker will launch a separate “Holiday Sales Event.” The original “Friends and Neighbors” campaign offered up to $2,000 off the price of nearly all Ford models (excluding Lincolns and a few Ford models like the Mustang) and was supposed to run from early November through the beginning of January.

“Dealers offered insights on the kinds of offers resonating most with customers in-market, and we are updating our plan based on their feedback,” Ford said in a statement. “We will continue to be competitive yet disciplined on incentives and offers for customers.”

Bob Kain, general manager at Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, Kentucky, said the program was confusing to customers who expected to save more.

“We’re thrilled it’s coming to an end,” Kain said. “We didn’t have very good success with it. We had very few people come in for the program itself. We were optimistic when we first saw it but it did not pay dividends.”

Kain said their dealership voiced their concerns about the program to the automaker and he commends Ford for realizing it wasn’t working.

Ford said the “Friends and Neighbors” campaign was meant to help them in a highly competitive market, and executives said it wouldn’t have increased its incentive spending. The automaker has been trying to earn back market share after it lost some because of the slow changeover to the new F-150.

“We wanted to stand out with very simple compelling offers we know customers appreciate,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s head of sales, said last month.

Sales have been brisk this year and are on pace to break the all-time sales record set in 2000. Automakers traditionally ramp up their advertisements at the end of the year to cash in on holiday spending.

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