The $5-a-day lease - a play on the $5 a day paid to workers when founder Henry Ford was at the wheel - helped pump up year-over-year sales for the Mustang in both April and May.
Ford dealers sold 16,266 Mustangs in May, a 14.1 percent increase over May 2002. Through May, Mustang sales were 64,943, up 9.6 percent from the year-ago period, making Mustang the 11th best-selling car for the first five months of 2003.
Ford spokesman Jim Cain says although plenty of customers are opting for a $3,000 cash rebate on the Mustang instead of the inexpensive lease, lease penetration for the Mustang is 24 percent, about double what it would be normally.
At $5 a day, the monthly payment is about $150. Although it is difficult to compare a lease with a finance contract, a typical five-year finance contract on an $18,320 Mustang at current rates and incentives would run about $9 a day, Cain says.
The success with the Mustang prompted Ford to extend the promotion through June 16 instead of ending it May 5.
But the promotion has not done much for the Ranger pickup. Ranger sales were down 7.6 percent in May compared with May 2002. For the first five months of the year, Ranger sales were 91,845, down 2.1 percent from the year-ago period.
Cain attributes the decline to consumers' preference for larger trucks. He also says truck buyers are not strong lease customers.