Mike Rowe in Ford's 'Swap Your Ride' campaignEnlarge Photo
2011 Ford EdgeEnlarge Photo
Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Ford Fusion 4-door Sedan SPORT FWDEnlarge Photo
A couple of years ago, Ford invited shoppers to "swap their rides" for new Ford cars and trucks. The pitch was part of an advertising campaign from Ford Motor Company, centered on a $1,000 bonus for buyers who traded in vehicles from other manufacturers. Apparently the campaign was a success, because Ford is relaunching it today, and the company has added 0% financing to sweeten the pot.
The "Swap Your Ride" campaign will run through the end of May, when the incentive offer expires. The gist is simple: when qualified buyers trade in non-Ford vehicles, they can receive $1,000 over and above the trade-in allowance on their current ride, as well as 0% financing. To promote the campaign, Ford is running a series of ads starring its golden boy, Mike Rowe, interviewing everyday drivers who've been given a Ford vehicle for a week. Though the (currently unembeddable) spots seem a bit stagy, they're honest enough, and paired with Rowe's likable personality -- he's the fourth most-trusted celebrity in America, after all -- they're fairly good. Edgy? No, but solid enough. Paired with America's lingering economic worries and consumers' pent-up desire to spend, the ads ought to help get shoppers onto Ford lots.
All in all, this looks like a great deal for both Ford and its customers. Buyers get a little extra trade-in cash, and 0% financing is nothing to sneeze at. For its part, Ford gets to thin its inventory before summer rolls around -- and without spending too much of cash out-of-pocket. True, some of Ford's sweetest rides are excluded from the offer, like the F-150 Raptor, the Shelby GT500, and Ford's entire hybrid lineup. And since the deal stipulates that shoppers have to take delivery from existing stock by June 1, models like the 2011 Ford Fiesta won't be included, either. (The Fiesta isn't due to arrive until June.) However, if you're interested in a Ford and you currently drive a car or truck made by someone else, now might be a good time to stroll through the showrooms.