Ford opens up car retail with leasing


Ford is launching a car-leasing scheme in its latest attempt to revive the flagging UK retail car market.

The move could trigger further changes in car marketing and is likely to lead to the launch of rival schemes from other motor manufacturers.

The Ford Acumen Personal Leasing scheme is designed to offer two-year lease agreements to what it believes is a growing number of drivers who cannot afford to, or do not want to, buy a new car.

The move has been prompted by a change in legislation that removes VAT charges from lease agreements.

It will inevitably provoke a response from other manufacturers including Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Rover. “We have no immediate plans,” says Volkswagen marketing director John Abbott, “but it is something we will watch with interest.”

Ford claims the scheme, which will have a launch budget of more than 5m including a TV campaign, will dovetail with its Options finance programme, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of all Ford retail sales.