Ford Advantage Plan To Kick Hyundai's Guarantee In The Assurance

Today Ford plans to kick the Hyundai Assurance Plan up to 11 with the "Advantage Plan," a payment-protection plan paying up to $700 per month for up to 12 months if customers lose their jobs.

The Ford Advantage Plan, also known as "FAP" (That reminds us, do automaker marketing teams ever read the internet?) offers payment protection of up to $700 per month for up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if customers lose their jobs. Additionally, customers can take advantage of 0% financing on certain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles through Ford Motor Credit. But you'd better act now as the program only runs from today through June 1.

But the bigger question is — how does this new Ford plan stack up against the reigning champ — the Hyundai Assurance program? Let's take a look.

Negative Equity Coverage: Hyundai covers up to $7,500 in negative equity coverage. Ford covers nothing in terms of negative equity coverage.
Winner: Hyundai

Financing: As far as financing, Ford's offering of 0% interest financing also ups the ante on the what-do-we-need-to-do-to-get-you-in-our-car-today scale.

Hyundai? They've got a deal on the Santa Fe!
Winner: Ford

Warranty: Although Hyundai does have that whole "America's Best Warranty" at 10 years and 100,000 miles, but Ford has that whole "Warranty Backed By America" thing. Never heard of it? What? Yeah, you know, the thing where they can ask for money from the Feds and then just jump into the "Warranty Commitment Program"
Winner: Ford

Overall: We'd go with Ford, if only because they now have an option on America's real best warranty — the Obama protection plan.

While this is certainly a way to up the ante, we want to wait and see some details before we declare a winner. Full press release below.

FORD INTRODUCES BEST-IN-INDUSTRY PLAN TO IMPROVE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE, JUMP-START VEHICLE SALES

* Ford leads the industry in boosting consumer confidence with the new Ford Advantage Plan
* Ford will cover payments for up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if customers lose their jobs
* 0 percent financing is also offered through Ford Motor Credit on select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles
* Ford also is working with its dealers to introduce a local charity support program

DEARBORN, Mich., March 31, 2009 – Ford Motor Company is introducing the most comprehensive program available to boost consumers' buying confidence and begin rebuilding the American economy with the new Ford Advantage Plan.

The plan gives customers another reason to "Drive One" with payment protection of up to 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle, 0 percent financing on select vehicles and added local charity support.

"Consumers remain anxious about the economy and their own outlook for the future. We at Ford want to do our part to rebuild faith in the marketplace by offering payment protection on every new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle for up to a year if our customers lose their jobs," said Ken Czubay, vice president of Sales and Marketing.

"Just as important is additional charity support we will provide in conjunction with our local dealers, who are mindful of how non-profit organizations are struggling during this economic downturn," Czubay said. "Ford and our dealers have always stepped up to take an active lead role in the community, and that's why we are also including a charity element as part of the Ford Advantage Plan."

Ford Commitment to Local Communities
In 2008, more than 18,000 Ford U.S. employees volunteered 100,000 hours to help people in their local communities – that's the equivalent of nearly $2 million dollars of in-kind corporate contributions. To continue the momentum, in April, Ford will introduce a program in partnership with its dealers throughout the country to assist local charities impacted by the economic downturn. Ford will announce complete details of this expansive community outreach effort April.

All Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles are covered under the Ford Advantage Plan. The program runs from today through June 1.

In addition to providing 12 months of payment protection of up to $700 per month, customers can take advantage of 0 percent financing on select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles through Ford's financing partner, Ford Motor Credit.

Additional Peace of Mind – Ford Quality, Safety and Fuel Efficiency
When selecting their next Ford vehicle, customers also can take comfort in knowing that Ford's newest vehicles are the best or among the best in fuel economy and cost of ownership.

The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are America's most fuel-efficient mid-size sedans, and the Fusion has a higher residual value than the Toyota Camry after three years of ownership, according to the Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG).

Ford maintains strong residual values throughout its product lineup. Vehicles with strong residual values retain more of their value at the end of their lease contract period. The 2009 Ford F-150 recently received a "Residual Value" award from ALG for retaining the highest percentage of its original price among 2009 full-size light duty pickups at the end of a conventional three-year lease, based on ALG projections. The Ford Escape has a 10-point residual value advantage versus the Chevrolet Equinox after three years of ownership, and the Ford Focus has the highest residual value of any domestic product in the small car segment.

"Ford's improvements in quality have contributed significantly to our year-over-year improvements in residual values," added Czubay.

In addition, Ford's quality is now on par with Toyota and Honda, and Ford continues to have more top safety picks than any other brand.

"This is the strongest product lineup we have ever offered," Czubay said. "When you combine these great products with payment protection, 0 percent financing and support for local charities, customers can feel confident about getting back into the market for a new car or truck."

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Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com