Ford, GM Add Rebates for 1999, 2000 Models

From Bloomberg News

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that they're offering new rebates for 1999 and 2000 models as they work to boost U.S. sales.

GM said it will offer rebates of $2,000 on its 2000-model Chevrolet Tracker sport-utility vehicles, up from $500 for the 1999 models. GM is offering rebates of $2,000 for 2000-model Pontiac Sunfire and Chevrolet Cavalier convertibles, matching the 1999 amount. However, it will offer $1,000 incentives on model year 2000 Cavalier and Sunfire coupes and sedans, down from $1,250 for the 1999 models.

Ford said it raised the cash rebate on its slow-selling 1999 Contour and Mercury Mystique cars from $1,000 to $1,500, and it doubled rebates on the 1999 Taurus and its sibling, the Mercury Sable, to $1,000.

"GM is trying to use the rebates to stop the sag in their market shares, especially in small cars, and Ford is trying to stay competitive in those same segments," said Burnham Securities Inc. analyst David Healy.

GM's U.S. sales for June rose 0.5%, lagging a 2.3% industrywide gain. GM captured 30.4% of U.S. vehicle sales in June, less than the 31% for the year-earlier month. In June, Cavalier and Sunfire sales fell a combined 5.8%, whereas sales of the heavily redesigned Tracker rose 131%.

Ford customers also can choose a smaller $750 discount plus lower-than-market loan interest rates ranging from 2.9% to 4.9% on Contour and 3.9% to 4.9% on Mystique. Buyers can also take low-interest loans on the mid-size sedans.

DaimlerChrysler is expected to announce its latest incentive plans today.

In New York Stock Exchange trading, GM stock rose $3.06 to close at $71.69, and Ford stock rose 25 cents to close at $57.69.

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