Ford Motor Co. has pulled a controversial ad in which a “buyer” tells a staged news conference he wouldn’t buy a car from Ford’s unnamed Detroit competitors because they took federal bailouts.
The campaign was clearly aimed at helping Ford market itself as the only domestic carmaker that didn’t go broke in 2009 and reply on a government handout to stay in business. Company officials acknowledge that was a factor that helped drive sales Ford’s way after the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, though it hasn’t been as much of a factor in recent months.
“I wasn’t going to buy another car from a company that was bailed out by our government,” declared shopper “Chris” speaking to what was made to look like a news conference in the Ford ad.
The spot reportedly drew the ire and concern of the White House, which invested roughly $60 billion to bailout GM and Chrysler – and which continues to have billions invested in GM even after that maker sold off a major stake of the U.S. Treasury’s holdings in a November 2010 IPO.