Ford Motor Company via Young & Rubicam, is that current car sales are running significantly below target.

The ads [which had a curiously old fashioned look] attempts to persuade a reluctant public to reach for its chequebook by way of a facsimile letter signed by Ford UK’s chairman Ian McAllister. This quaintly addresses readers as 'Valued Current and Future Ford Customers' and promises those buying a new V-registration model from any authorised Ford dealer that if 'Ford does reduce the recommended retail price of any model this year in response to competitive actions in the marketplace, [it] will reimburse the recom-mended retail price difference of that model.' McAllister admitted that speculation about price cuts had 'un-settled and confused customers'. He insisted that there are no plans to discount the current tariff but added a catch-all proviso: 'If market conditions change, any price reductions will be made retroactive for the first time.' The promise aims to give customers 'peace of mind' about buying a new V-registration Ford.

The guarantee - dismissed by the Consumers’ Association as 'the desperate tactics of a desperate industry' - runs only until the year end. Other manufacturers said they had no plans to follow suit, although Vauxhall, Peugeot and Rover are 'monitoring developments'.