CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story didn't make clear the specific measures being taken in Canada. Customers there can call and discuss options, such as delaying a payment.
Ford Motor Credit Co. on Monday said it will allow customers impacted by the coronavirus crisis in Canada and the United States to delay payments on new-vehicle purchases or leases.
The lender also is offering U.S. customers only who buy a new vehicle the option to delay their first payment for 90 days. Ford Credit will begin running ads today for the program, using the slogans "Built for Right Now" and "Built to Lend a Hand."
Ford has set up a special hotline for Canadian customers to discuss options: 1-877-636-7346. It's a different toll free number in the United States, where it's also U.S. encouraging customers to access their accounts online or through the FordPass app, which isn't available in Canada.
"We are letting our Canadian customers know that if they have been affected by COVID-19, they can contact us," Ford Motor Co. spokeswoman Margaret Mellott said in an email to Automotive News Canada. "In Canada, we are encouraging Ford and Lincoln customers who have been affected to contact us to discuss options, such as changes in payment due dates or delaying a payment.
"They then can resume paying when their situation improves. This is part of supporting our goal to always help Ford and Lincoln customers stay in their vehicles."
"Ford is committed to lending a hand to the people who rely on us," Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. "The peace of mind of our Ford and Lincoln customers is our top priority as we work through the developments of this outbreak."
CHARITABLE DONATIONS IN U.S.
In addition to the payment relief for customers, Ford said Monday that the Ford Fund, its philanthropic arm, will donate more than US$500,000 to nonprofit groups in southeast Michigan and will support delivery of food to senior citizens and to thousands of children who do not have access to school meals while classes are not in session. Some locations in Detroit are serving as drive-up food pantry distribution centers.
Ford also is launching an emergency aid program with the United Negro College Fund to help students with financial difficulties at historically black colleges and universities get home following the sudden closure of some of these institutions.
"We are immediately targeting resources to ensure that the most vulnerable people are being cared for during this unprecedented situation," Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said in a statement. "We appreciate all that our nonprofit partners are doing and will continue to work with them to address critical needs in our communities as the situation evolves."