Ford Matches GM's Steep Discounts

Ford Motor Co. (F), bowing to pressure from General Motors Corp. (GM), said Tuesday that it was matching its larger, cross-town rival's "employee discount" program.

Under the program, which takes effect Wednesday and will be called the "Ford Family Plan," Ford will shave thousands of dollars off the sticker prices of most 2005 model vehicles, company spokesman David Reuter said.

The program will run through Aug. 1, he said. Like the GM plan, Ford will sell its vehicles to anybody at the same low prices Ford employees pay.

"It's a great deal that we're going to deliver in a simple, consistent way to customers," Reuter said. "We're going to advertise this widely, in a huge significant way throughout the month."

The Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler (DCX) has said it will respond to GM's program by rolling out its own employee pricing program on Wednesday.

GM's "Employee Discount for Everyone" program was launched last month and the company extended it through Aug. 1 earlier Tuesday. It drove GM's sales up 41 percent in June, which was the company's best sales month in 19 years.

Ford, which has seen its U.S. sales fall for 13 consecutive months, can ill afford not to remain competitive with GM. It has already warned that its core automotive operations may not be profitable this year.