Customers shopping for a new car or truck from Ford Division will find prices essentially unchanged from the 2000 model year. The average comparably-equipped retail price for Ford Division’s 2001 model year vehicles has been reduced three tenths of one percent compared with the final 2000 model year prices. Including price changes for added standard equipment, average prices are up eight tenths of a percent.

“By holding the line on prices and passing on to customers ordering and manufacturing efficiencies, we are able to give consumers the products and features they want at an affordable price,” Ford Division President Jim O’Connor said. “We continue to offer more safety features as standard equipment. This year, all vehicles have dual front-impact air bags and all trucks will have four-wheel ABS brakes. These actions are designed to improve customer satisfaction by increasing value to the customer.”

For the 2001 model year, Ford Division has continued its simplified customer offerings to many more vehicles, including the 2001 Ford Focus, Mustang, Ranger, Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac.

These simplified offerings provide better-equipped vehicles, providing more value to the consumer and improved efficiency to Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F). The simplified offerings were the result of extensive customer research and customer purchase trends.

For example, the popular Ford Focus ZTS remains at $15,725 MSRP while standardizing 16-inch wheels, fog lamps and floor mats at no price increase. The Windstar SEL has added signal mirrors, keyless entry and adjustable pedals with an increase of only $100. This equipment is valued at $250. The Windstar Limited has added memory seats, heated seats, wood/leather steering wheel and signal mirrors for no added price. This equipment is valued at $1,015. The Ranger XLT Supercab 4×2 features four doors, a 3.0 liter engine, automatic transmission, power locks and windows for $19,620, a $70 reduction from its final 2000 model year price.

“This continues a trend by Ford Motor Company to show pricing restraint, pass productivity savings through to the consumer and provide an easier and more pleasing purchase process,” O’Connor said. “We’ve stated that our goal is to become the world’s leading consumer company providing automotive products and services, and our 2001 model year pricing strategy was developed with a focus on the customer, including an emphasis on product simplification and value.”

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Vehicles continue to be at their most affordable levels in nearly two decades, according to the Auto Affordability Index compiled by Detroit-based Comerica Bank.

“Not since the second quarter of 1980 have cars been this affordable,” said David Littman, Comerica chief economist.

Ford Division’s innovative product lineup offers a new Ranger Edge series, new Escape SUV and restyled Windstar with new SE Sport model.

Suggested retail prices announced today for 2001 model vehicles are effective immediately. Public introduction for most 2001 models is scheduled for Sept. 28, 2000. Dealers are taking orders now for delivery to customers upon receipt of the vehicles from the factory.