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Worried about losing your job? Ford has an offer on vehicles for that

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Some new Ford Motor Co. customers can lease or purchase a vehicle with peace of mind, knowing they can return it if they lose their job.

The Blue Oval on Monday rolled out a new program in which customers who lease or purchase a vehicle with Ford Credit financing can return it if they experience job loss within a year of the transaction. Enrollment in the program extends through Sept. 30.

As it launches a recovery from the coronavirus crisis, Ford is looking to spur sales amid double-digit unemployment and as the country grapples with a surge of new COVID-19 cases. 

"We feel like right now, the economy is at the stage of recovery where people want things to be back to normal, they want to buy, but they're still a little nervous about what the future holds," Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. "We want them to know we understand that, and we're here to support them in their buying decisions."

Ford logo on an Explorer at the Royal Oak Ford dealership in Royal Oak, Michigan on April 28, 2020.

The program comes on the heels of an eight-week shutdown of North American production by Detroit's three automakers. As sectors of the U.S. economy have gradually reopened, consumer demand for vehicles has mounted a more robust rebound than had originally been expected.

But analysts have said it may take years for the industry to fully recover. Ahead of the release of quarterly sales next week, Cox Automotive is projecting that sales for the first half of 2020 could be down nearly one-quarter from the same period in 2019.

Ford, which took on $20 billion in new debt to help preserve cash flow amid the crisis, projected it would post a $5 billion loss in the second quarter. Strong vehicle sales — and getting crucial new vehicle launches right, including the next-generation F-150 Ford unveiled Thursday — in the months ahead will be crucial for the Blue Oval's financial recovery.

Under the Ford Promise program, if a customer needs to return a vehicle, Ford will assess its value using the National Automobile Dealers Association average trade-in value, reduce the customer's outstanding balance by that amount, and waive up to an additional $15,000. The customer would be responsible for paying off any remaining balance, for vehicle damage, and for any late or deferred payments. 

The program covers 2019, 2020 and 2021 new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles that are purchased or leased through Ford's financing arm. The program is not open to commercial customers. The protection begins 30 days after the transaction.

For more information, visit https://www.ford.com/built-for-america/ford-promise/.

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewski