A Ford dealership in Honea Path, South Carolina, run by Derrick Hughes, has made headlines with a promotion campaign dubbed “God, Guns and America!” as it started to give their buyers a Smith & Wesson AR rifle, a Bible, or an American flag.
The team is said to have come up with the idea for the special offer, available since 1 October, while they were brainstorming how to boost sales during the two autumn months when demand drops. According to the 38-year-old car dealer, said to be a hunter himself, the free rifle, which is only one of the options and guaranteed by a voucher, is great for shooting wild hogs that are common in the area.
Although the gun is free with each purchase, a happy new car owner would still need a background check to enjoy the offer. If one fails to pass it, he or she still can get a voucher to a nearby sporting goods store. Hughes explained that such customers “will be issued store credit to purchase whatever it is they want ... new fishing tackle or maybe even a crossbow."
As the businessman told the outlet Detroit Free Press, the concept has turned out to be a success.
"It's crazy. We’ve had multiple people take advantage of the promotion. You don't need to buy a $50,000 truck. It's for anything on our lot, used or new. We've sold Ecosport, Escape, new F-150s, used F-250s, a couple Dodge trucks", he said.
The outlet cites a staffer who answers the phone, saying that the company has been overwhelmed by both positive and negative calls. Some took to the dealership’s Facebook page to praise the promotion, while others lambasted idea.
“Thank you for promoting and supporting mass shootings. The NRA becomes richer for every child gunned down. If you know of any children, please let them know”, one commenter posted.
Although the firm shared an article titled “FBI: More people killed with knives, hammers, clubs and even feet than rifles in 2018” from the website Law Enforcement Today, the car dealer insisted in an interview with WYFF News 4 that they “are not taking a political stance in any way, shape or form".
"We are all country folk, God-fearing people. We are very patriotic people, believe in our country and salute our military", he said.
Ford spokesman Said Deep distanced the car manufacturer from the promotion, noting that dealers are “independent businesses”.
"This is a local promotion, not something directed by Ford. We understand customers are given gift certificates they can apply to a range of sporting goods. Obviously, promotions have to be lawful — as this one is", he said.