December 20, 2014

Yes! Ford Offers “X-Plan” Pricing for Shareholders!

I love cars, but I hate buying them. The car buying process can be a catfight or ripoff, and it’s never fun. That’s why I was pleased to hear that Ford offers “friends and family” (X plan) pricing to shareholders like me. But it’s been awfully difficult actually getting this benefit!

We are buying a new car! No, I didn't wreck it...

X Plan Pricing for Shareholders

Short answer: Yes! As of May 2012 Ford Investor Relations does offer “X-Plan” priviliges to shareholders, provided they own a minimum of 100 shares of Ford Motor Company stock (NYSE:F) for at least the past 6 months.

This looks much better!

Most automakers offer special discounts for employees, suppliers, and other “friends and family”, and many people here in Northeast Ohio work for the company. The “A-Plan” is for current employees, the “Z-Plan” is for retirees, and the “X-Plan” is for other affiliates of the company. Along with the discount, these plans reduce the stress of car buying, since dealers are restricted from selling add-ons and gouging on fees.

X-Plan pricing is as follows:

Dealer Invoice - (0.4% * Dealer Invoice) + $275 Administration Fee

X-Plan restrictions:

  • Most rebates and finance programs still apply after X-Plan pricing is calculated, though some may not. The dealer’s own fees are capped at $100 in addition to the Administration Fee. You still have to pay shipping/destination charges and, of course, taxes…
  • The dealer can still try to sell undercoating, extended maintenance agreements, accessories, and other such nonsense. But these must be priced as separate line items and the customer does not have to buy any of it.
  • Dealers cannot give any “free gifts” in excess of $50 to X-Plan purchasers, regardless of special offers to other customers.

While researching a new car, I stumbled across the fact that Ford offers the same pricing benefits to shareholders. Because I purchased 500 shares of Ford stock at the depths of the recession, plus more later on, I decided to reach out to the company to get this benefit.

May 14: Locating Ford Investor Relations

This benefit is poorly-documented and difficult to get. But as of today it is an active benefit and can be achieved. Here’s a chronicle of my X-Plan adventure. I’ll update it as I progress with the purchase!

My first encounter with Shareholder Services was through their “transfer agent”, Computershares. My e-mail request generated a defunct link at the Ford website for more information, so I decided to call the company instead. Unfortunately, no one at Computershares had ever heard of this benefit, and all they could do was consult “the Google” just like me.

While searching, I did find a copy of the official form at FordFlex.net. This includes a mailing address and fax number along with instructions on the documentation to include. I filled it out and faxed it in (to 313-845-6073). I included the form as well as printouts of my E*Trade account showing that I currently own 200 shares of Ford stock.

I also located a phone number (1-800-555-5259) for Ford’s internal Investor Relations department. I called this number and left a message asking about the benefit. And @FordService on Twitter gave me the same number to call.

Apparently Ford Investor Relations can help!

May 21: Faxing Proper Documentation

As of today, May 21, my phone call got me precisely nothing: Ford Investor Relations neither called back nor emailed me as a result of my voice mail. So that doesn’t look like a helpful avenue.

However, I did receive an email from Ford’s Investor Relations Department as a result of my faxed documents: It requests additional documentation showing that I have owned the Ford stock for six months. I quickly printed out seven more months of statements (to be on the safe side) and faxed those back to the number on the form.

Happily, this email confirmed that this benefit is current and officially stated the requirements: “you must be a current Ford Motor Company shareholder who has held a minimum of one hundred (100) shares of Ford Motor Company stock (Ticker: F) for at least the past 6 months.” It also notes that “Ford Motor Company reserves the right to modify the program, remove or change eligibility, or cancel the program at any time without notice.”

May 21: Got My PIN!

Shortly after faxing in the updated packet showing 6 months+ of ownership, I received an email from Ford Investor Relations with my official X-Plan PIN! It appears to be “good” for one year from today, which gives us time to locate the perfect car for our family. I’m so glad Ford didn’t make us wait another week to get the PIN, since a local dealer apparently has an interesting car in stock!

How To Get This Benefit Yourself

If you would like X-Plan pricing and experience when purchasing a new Ford vehicle, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Be a Ford stockholder
    • You must own at least 100 shares of Ford Motor Company stock (NYSE:F)
    • You must hold this stock for “at least the past 6 months”
  2. Fax in the documentation
    • Fill out the official form
    • Print out statements showing your ownership of at least 100 shares for six months (I sent seven months of statements, plus a current position statement for today)
    • Fax the whole pile to (313)845-6073
  3. Get your PIN
    • Ford Investor Relations will email you an “X-Plan PIN”, apparently the following Friday or Monday
    • The dealer will “use up” your PIN when you buy your car, and you will be required to verify it by providing the last 4 digits of your social security number.
  4. Buy your car
    • Locate a car you wish to buy and immediately inform the dealer you have an X-Plan PIN (note that certain vehicles are not eligible for X-Plan pricing)
    • The dealer will give you your X-Plan price for that particular car, calculated according to the formula above
    • This is your baseline price; don’t bother negotiating further. Most rebates still apply, and the dealer is restricted from “upselling” you on add-ons or fees in excess of $100.

Stephen’s Stance

I imagine a tough negotiator could beat X-Plan pricing on some purchases, but the average buyer won’t come close. And they dealer will likely make up the difference by gouging them on extras and fees. X-Plan purchasing should be much kinder, gentler, and cheaper for the majority of purchases. Honestly, it’s worth buying 100 shares of Ford stock today and holding them for six months just to get this benefit. Check back here over the next few weeks, and I’ll update you on my own car-buying progress!

Disclaimer: As should be patently obvious to anyone who has read this article, since that’s the topic, I own stock in Ford Motor Company.

  • MR

    I’m not from the states (so I’m not even eligible) but this leaves me curious. For .4% of the price this can’t really be worth it. On fordpartner.com I can see a sample invoice where the savings are in the 8% range though – now that would be worth it. What is it I’m getting wrong?

  • http://blog.fosketts.net sfoskett

    The secret phrase is “dealer invoice” – that’s the price the dealer pays and is usually much lower than the MSRP listed on the sticker. In the case of the Flex, we’re talking $2,000 in savings. Plus, not having the dealer tack on “documentation fees” and other extras saves a bit more.

    Great question!

  • Pingback: Pricing Spreadsheet (With X-Plan Pricing!) - Page 8()

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HL722RR5YWMRB3ISOUAICQ7QRE Tyson Jane

     Shareholders in the primary market who buy IPOs provide capital to
    corporations; however, the vast majority of shareholders are in the
    secondary market and provide no capital directly to the corporation.

    http://www.electrocomputerwarehouse.com/

  • Ken

    Does owning Ford stock in a 401(k) plan count toward x-plan pricing eligibility?

  • http://profiles.google.com/louie2nd LOUIE LAMOORE

    Dealer Invoice – (0.4% * Dealer Invoice) + $275 Administration Fee
    Would somebody decipher this for me? Dealer invoice minus (.4% times dealer invoice) plus $275 fee? Is that what is being conveyed here?

  • http://blog.fosketts.net sfoskett

    Yes, that’s right. So if dealer invoice was $10,000 (hypothetical), it would be $10,000 – $40 + $275 = $9685

    Put another way, the dealer makes $4 per $1,000 of the invoice price, plus the $275 flat fee. Of course the dealer makes way more than that thanks to the arcane tricks automakers play, but that’s the gist of it.

  • Augie

    very helpful, thank you. i’ve decided to keep 100 shares F stock indefinitely in case my family ever decides to buy a ford (3% dividend yield – not too shabby).

    so what did you buy? i hope it starts with an M, ends with a G and rhymes with RUSTANG.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.campanoli Chris Campanoli

    Thank you so much for writing this! I followed your directions and once I got the statements together and faxed them in, I had a pin 2 days later! This last Saturday I bought a brand new Focus and the x plan saved me about $1200! I’m so glad I found your article, because I had no idea how to get the pin before. Loving the car too. Got like 32 mpg just on my way home!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.campanoli Chris Campanoli

    I like the way you think Augie! Believe it or not my trade in was a Mustang. I figure there are more Mustangs in my future.

  • Christie Malchow

    So how do you find out which cars are excluded? Are the Lincoln’s excluded? I’m debating selling my F stock, considering its at a 52 week high right now…but I’d hang onto 100 shares of it if I could buy a Lincoln Navigator…

  • Augie

    https://www.fordpartner.com/partnerweb/jsp/howitworks/fordpartner_rules.htm

    “Current Ford and Lincoln model year and prior model year vehicles sold in the United States. See your local dealer for vehicle eligibility.”

    it seems like the PIN is good for one year. so you can always register, get your PIN, sell your stock, and buy the car at a later date. that way, if the price of F declines precipitously, you can always re-purchase the stock and start the “clock” all over again.

    all this said, i’ve never tried this. so like all things, speak with the dealer/ford for the official word.