Ford Black Friday Sale Unloads Cars Early

Douglas A. McIntyre

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has already started its Black Friday sale, about three weeks too early. It may be a means to push 2016 models out the door, although some of the vehicles on the list are 2017 versions.

The offer upfront is for $1,000 cash off, which seems very modest. However, this comes on top of local offers, which can be extremely aggressive. In some cases, the incentives run to 0% APR financing for 60 months.

The final highlight of the promotion is that “This Is the Best Time to Shop America’s Best Selling Brand.” That is, of course, until Ford has a similar offer in several months, which is nearly inevitable.

Ford has good reason to clear its lots. Investors have grown impatient with CEO Mark Fields. His recent results, particularly in America, have been more than disappointing. The number two U.S. car company’s sales cratered 11.7% in October, to 188,813, well below expectations. Ford’s shares trade at $11.40, the low end of their 52-week range.

Ford’s third-quarter earnings were awful. Net income was $1.09 billion, down $1.2 billion from the same period a year ago.

Fields’s comment about the quarter:

This quarter, we delivered key elements of our growth plan by fortifying our core business with the launch of the all-new Super Duty pickup, transforming Lincoln with the new Continental and investing in emerging opportunities with the acquisition of the Chariot crowd-sourced shuttle service. Importantly, we remain on track to deliver one of our best profit years ever.

Are the Chariot deal and comments about the tiny Lincoln really among the most important things he has to say? What about a better explanation for the disappointments?