Ford starts credit card discount scheme

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FORD and Barclaycard yesterday teamed up to launch a dedicated credit card that offers discounts of up to pounds 1,800 on the price of a new car.

The joint scheme is aimed at boosting Ford sales to private motorists and beating off General Motors, which launched its own Visa and MasterCard credit card in October.

Users of the card, to be issued in April, will be able to claim the discount by getting points for every pounds 10 they spend. Anyone spending pounds 12,000 in one year with the card can claim pounds 600 off the price of the car, with a maximum rebate of pounds 1,800 over three years.

The annual pounds 600 rebate on cars and vans compares with a pounds 500-a-year discount from GM. But at pounds 2,500, GM's maximum discount is higher than than Ford's.

Ford's deal with Barclaycard will allow existing cardholders to use the points they have accumulated under Barclaycard's Profiles loyalty scheme to get an immediate discount on cars they buy.

Ford also hopes to beat GM by offering the benefits that already apply to Barclaycard holders.

Barclaycard estimates that, of the 3 million members of its Profiles scheme, some 250,000 are already entitled to claim a pounds 600 discount. About 1.25 million holders are entitled to the minimum pounds 100 discount, by having 200 points. The card issuer hopes to add a further 250,000 cardholders to its existing number.

Ian McAllister, chairman of Ford of Britain, said: 'Unlike the other automotive card, where motorists have to start from scratch, I believe we will see the first Ford vehicle bought with a cash rebate on the road by the end of January.'

He estimated that within a year of launch, 20 per cent of Ford retail sales could be linked to the credit card, rising to 50 per cent in five years.