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Ford tells dealers to stop running minivan ad after Chrysler complaint

Associated Press



DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has told regional dealers to stop running an advertisement comparing the Ford Freestar and Dodge Caravan after the Chrysler Group, which owns the Dodge brand, complained about the spot.

In the ad, Ford touts the Freestar’s new third-row, fold-flat seating designed to create more storage space, while an actor expresses frustration because her Dodge van doesn’t have the feature.

However, new 2005 Dodge and Chrysler vans that went on sale last week are now equipped with the fold-flat seating, prompting a letter from Chrysler’s legal staff to Ford.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain said the company was aware of the new Chrysler products and stopped running the ad nationally Feb. 9, but some dealer groups that buy their own regional time continued to air the spot.

“It’s still possible it might be in the rotation in some markets, but we asked to have it stopped,” Cain said. “We might bring it back at some point down the road. We’d just make it clear we’re making a comparison to the 2004 van, not a 2005.”

The ad is one in a series promoting the new Freestar minivan, which replaced the Ford Windstar.

Chrysler spokesman Mike Aberlich said the automaker simply wanted Ford “to stop running misleading ads.”

Cain said Ford also will stop referring to Rick Titus, who appears in the ads, as a journalist following complaints from some automotive journalists. Titus, a paid Ford spokesman, is host of a radio show called “Drivers Talk Radio” and has contributed to some auto magazines.

On the Net:

Ford Motor Co.: http://www.ford.com

DaimlerChrysler AG: http://www.daimlerchrysler.com
 
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