Most of Ford Motor’s U.S. dealers got payroll protection loans from the U.S. government during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the automaker’s chief operating officer stated on Thursday.
Early in the outbreak, Ford made sure that its American dealers applied with the U.S. Small Business Administration for federal loans to protect their payrolls and workers, Jim Farley stated during the company’s yearly shareholder meeting held online.
“This really paid off because about 90-plus percent of our dealers applied and now more than 80% have been funded,” Farley said.
Ford worked closely with its network of just more than 3,000 U.S. franchised dealers to make sure they were aware of the loan process and tracked their progress, spokesman Said Deep stated after the meeting.
Auto dealers have been hard hit by the outbreak, with some states temporarily banning new-vehicle sales. Sales have been negatively affected due to stay-at-home orders aimed at controlling the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 coronavirus.
The U.S. government’s “Payroll Protection Program” to help small businesses, part of an economic relief package passed by Congress, started chaotically in April and ran out of funds in less than two weeks. The SBA then processed another batch of applications.
The loans are forgivable if companies have used at least 75% on payroll expenses.
Ford’s Farley stated the automaker observes its dealers’ profitability closely, and that in March and April the dealers in question were in “great shape” and their financial health was improving daily as state economies resumes.