We never left the leasing market: Ford

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The gloves are off. GM Financial has just put the finishing touches on its new nonprime retail product, and re-entered the nonprime arena to clash with old rival Ford Credit.

Ford Credit spokesperson Margaret Mellottt said although the company shifted its marketing programs towards a retail product to fit consumer desire during the crisis, “it was very important to ensure that leasing was available for customers who prefer that. The point is to have both available to meet customer preference.”

She said Ford Credit leasing is a very important consumer product that needs to be offered by the brand.

As for the residual value risk, Mellott said Ford Credit is confident its residual value models will hold up. Part of this, she said, is making sure customers understand their own lease terms, through discussions upfront and at lease end. The company also helps to ensure residual values by performing quarterly reports to determine where values are for each product in Ford’s lineup.

While Mellott said that the total Canadian take rate for leasing was not available, leasing comprised 15% of total Ford sales in the U.S. for both 2011 and 2012. She added that leasing in Canada does not experience seasonal ups and downs.

“The idea is to have the variety of products, whether it is retail or lease, that consumers want.”

That means consumers can expect one of those products, for example, the 2013 Lincoln MKX, to be offered at 0 per cent APR for 48 months until April 1.