Ford Bribe for Journos: Drive One, Sell Two

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer

The things car makers do for love… Car companies in Germany traditionally offer journalists discounts of about 20 percent on new vehicles. Until now, this offer's been restricted to one car per year. Ford's cutting that clause: Automobilwoche reports journalists can now buy as many popular models for a bargain price as they want, and enjoy. Or, more to the point, flip 'em on the market for a few percent profit, and repeat. Other makers are expected to follow suit. Historically, journalists are considered a small but influential group– "opinion leaders" in the marketing argot. "Just like taxi drivers: not a large audience, but they are important, so they are worth some special consideration," says a German VW dealer. How much consideration? VW's generosity is worth 15 percent for new cars and 10 percent for pre-owned. The quoted dealer thinks VW's vig may soon reach Ford's levels: up to 25 percent, depending on model. Mercedes-Benz also grants 15 percent for journos. Porsche is parsimonious, offering no more than 10 percent. Most makes are (for the time being) stricter than Ford: Mercedes requires a minimum holding time of six months, and allows no more than two purchases per year. We're looking into the situation stateside, but we know Ford offers scribes the Ford employee discount…

Martin Schwoerer
Martin Schwoerer

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  • B.C. B.C. on Jun 25, 2008

    Clarkson wrote in his column that he returned his Ford GT to Ford, and that he has never personally profited from his job as an automotive journalist in that way.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jun 25, 2008

    Although I hate to see anyone's life turned upside down by the IRS, at what point does a car discount for certain people become INCOME?!?

  • Theodore Theodore on Jun 25, 2008

    US automakers also have supplier discount programs. Not sure if the transplants do.

  • Mrdweeb Mrdweeb on Jun 25, 2008

    I can get you "journos" a 20% discount on a PT Cruiser if you'll write nice things about me.