HONEA PATH, S.C. — Carolina Ford of Honea Path, S.C., is offering a free American flag, Bible, and hunting rifle to every new and used car buyer throughout October and November, the Detroit Free Press reports.
In June, a similar promotion at an Alabama dealership ended at the factory’s behest. Chatom Ford offered a free Bible, Torah, or Quran, an American flag, and a 12-gauge shotgun to sold customers in the weeks leading up to the July 4 holiday. A late June shooting at a California Ford store prompted the request.
Carolina Ford’s general manager, Derrick Hughes, said his sole objective was to perk up a slow period for sales.
“We are not taking a political stance in any way, shape, or form,” he told Greenville, S.C.’s NBC affiliate. “We are all country folk, God-fearing people. We are very patriotic people, believe in our country and salute our military.”
“I do want to be very clear that the dealership itself does not have guns in the backroom, handing them out like free samples.”
Hughes said customers are handed a $400 voucher good for the purchase of a Smith & Wesson M&P15 — or anything else — at a nearby sporting goods store.
“I do want to be very clear that the dealership itself does not have guns in the backroom, handing them out like free samples. The person that purchases the vehicle will, however, leave the dealership with their American flag and Bible in hand.”
Ford spokesman Said Deep affirmed the dealer’s right to promote his business.
“This is a local promotion, not something directed by Ford,” Deep said. “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.”